Following the successful testing of its cashierless “Just Walk Out” technology at a smaller Amazon Go Grocery store, Amazon is bringing the tech to a full-size Fresh store this week. The tech giant announced that Just Walk Out will be available in The Marketplace at Factoria’s Amazon Fresh store in Bellevue, Washington beginning on June 17.
Amazon says in today’s announcement that testing in that smaller location has gone very well. “The feedback has been fantastic, with customers noting that skipping the checkout allows them to save time and reduce contact in stores,” said Dilip Kumar, VP of Physical Retail and Technology at Amazon.
The Bellevue Amazon Fresh is more than double the size of the Amazon Go Grocery location — at 25,000 square feet, it’s the size of a real supermarket, whereas previous testing was limited to a 10,400 square foot store. The Bellevue Amazon Fresh will be the company’s fourteenth Fresh location.
Amazon’s willingness to ramp up testing of Just Walk Out to cover such a large store is further proof of the technology’s viability as a long-term shopping solution. If testing goes well at the Bellevue store, we’d expect to see this at many more Amazon-owned stores in the future — and, perhaps, even in retail spaces run by other companies.
Choose your checkout adventure — When entering the new Amazon Fresh store, customers will be asked to choose between traditional check-out and the Just Walk Out shopping experience. Those who choose the cashierless option need to scan themselves into the store with either a QR code from the Amazon app, a credit card linked to their Amazon account, or their palm via Amazon One.
Once you’re through the gates, any items you take off the shelf will automatically be added to your “virtual cart,” and anything you put back will be taken out. Then you just scan again on your way out, using the same method by which you entered, and that’s it. No checkout required.
Just like magic — Just Walk Out is a complicated system, made possible by computer vision, sensor, fusion, and deep learning, according to Amazon. All that backend leads to an experience early customers say is “almost like magic.”
Just Walk Out is, for now, an incentive for customers to visit Amazon’s grocery stores. It’s fun. “Checking out with my palm was super cool,” one customer is quoted saying. “Seemed high tech and traditional at the same time.”
Eventually, Amazon hopes Just Walk Out will be attractive enough that third-party retailers will buy into the technology. It’s not exactly a painless (or inexpensive) process — the entire store needs to essentially be redone with specialized sensors for Just Walk Out to work. That’s a lot to ask of a third-party grocery store, especially when many of them aren’t exactly keen on aiding Amazon in its continued quest for total market domination.