Amazon’s long-awaited grocery store in Bellevue, Washington opened to the crowd— and added a twist.
With a surprise announcement, the store is the company’s first full-sized fresh food with cash registerless technology, featuring a huge array of motion-enabled ceiling cameras and sensors that track items taken from shelves.
After revealing that it is a product, it will automatically charge the customer’s Amazon account when the customer leaves. Amazon operates more than 12 fresh stores nationwide, and groceries are cheaper than the more upscale Whole Foods chains that Amazon acquired in 2017.
While other fresh stores share their own space age technology, such as smart shopping carts that sum up content and send digital invoices to customers, the new location in Bellevue’s Factoria district is Amazon’s cashierless. It is the first fresh store with a checkout feature that Amazon calls “just out” technology. (Amazon Fresh is also the name of the company’s grocery delivery service.)
“The first time you do that, you feel like you’re running away from something,” said Celeste Cooper, a shopper who trekked from her Seattle home to see a new store on the opening day.
Cooper said he’s already using cashier-less technology at an Amazon Go convenience store near his home. “It takes a while to get used to it, but now I can’t stand anywhere else.”
The former Safeway, a 25,000-square-foot grocery store, is the largest application of Amazon’s “just walk” technology. Bloomberg reports that the company has historically struggled to use technology in larger formats than convenience stores. This is due to the technical complexity of tracking large numbers of shoppers in a larger space.
But instead of relying solely on un-checkout checkouts, Amazon’s spokeswoman Rachel Hass has a hybrid model at the Factory Fresh Store. Customers can choose to “go out” or check out with a human cashier. Unlike the early iterations of the Amazon Go store, you will receive cash.
The Factoria Store is Amazon’s first attempt at such a hybrid model. Amazon’s vast grocery lineup has recently changed and expanded during the pandemic. Last month, the company announced that it would discontinue the Amazon Go Grocery brand for large grocery stores with cashier-less technology.
According to recent media reports, Amazon is gradually introducing cashierless technology into larger formats. Bloomberg reported in April that it had installed a ceiling camera in a Connecticut grocery store under construction by Amazon, and that vacant storefronts in Ballard, Washington were also showing signs of a cashier-less Amazon Fresh location. did.
Amid concerns from the grocery union that Amazon’s cashierless technology could adversely affect grocery employment, the company has a factory store in Seattle’s central district and another fresh grocery store under construction. I was trying to promote recruitment. The company announced plans to hire hundreds of new store staff this year.
The Factoria store “has hundreds of employees,” Hass said in an email. “This number is similar to other Amazon Fresh stores and is comparable to other major grocery stores.”
Numerous cameras hang from the ceiling on the opening day of the first Amazon Fresh in Washington. It is the only store in Bellevue that combines cashier-free technology with cashier checkout options. In addition to the camera, purchases are monitored by shelf weight sensors.