STEP BY STEP: HOW AMAZON’S REGISTER-FREE SUPERMARKETS WORK
1: Shoppers scan their smartphone at a front gate, which connects to an Amazon App
2: Shoppers are then tracked by ‘by cameras, software algorithms and shelf sensors’
3: They can also use a ‘smart cart’, equipped with bar code readers, sensors and scales, which identifies what they place inside
4: Shoppers can then walk straight out of the store, with the credit card connected to their Amazon App automatically billing the purchases
Amazon is set to bring automated cashless checkouts to full-size supermarkets in the US, with surveillance cameras, shelf sensors and ‘smart carts’ replace traditional cashiers.
The e-commerce giant opened its first full-size supermarket, named Amazon Fresh, in Los Angeles last year, and reportedly has plans to open dozens more in multiple different states.
Bloomberg has obtained new planning documents that purportedly show an Amazon Fresh store currently under construction in Brookfield, Connecticut that does not appear to feature traditional cash registers.
The company already has multiple convenience stores, named Amazon Go, dotted across the country. Those stores are also without checkouts, but skeptics have wondered whether Amazon would be able to apply its automated technology to full-size grocery stores where consumers are picking up more than one or two items.
The seeming success of Amazon Fresh in LA, and the construction of the new Amazon Fresh in Connecticut appears proof that the company is confident with its innovations.
The new Connecticut supermarket is about 34,000 square feet in size, and will likely be able to accommodate hundreds of shoppers at any one time.
In a recent promotional video, Amazon has explained how it is able to track shoppers and the groceries they buy without exiting through a cash register.
First, to enter an Amazon Fresh, a customer must scan their smartphone at a front gate, with the Amazon App connected to their credit card.
Bloomberg reports that new planning documents show an Amazon Fresh store currently under construction in Brookfield, Connecticut. It does not appear to feature traditional cash registers
Shoppers will be tracked ‘by cameras, software algorithms and shelf sensors’, Bloomberg reports.
They are able to grab shopping bags at the front of the store to pack the items as they go, meaning there will be no bagging process at the end of the trip.
Shoppers will also be able to grab a ‘smart cart’ – a traditional looking shopping cart that is equipped with bar code readers, sensors and scales.
The technology systems will discern what shoppers place in the cart and bill the credit card on file once they leave the supermarket through a designated lane.
‘Customers simply place their bags in the cart, sign in using their Fresh QR code in the Amazon app, shop, and exit through the Dash Cart lane to automatically complete their payment,’ Amazon summarized in a recent blog post.
The company has not disclosed whether they use facial recognition technology to track customers.
Some shoppers may worry that is a violation of their privacy.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that planning documents do not show whether the new Amazon Fresh in Connecticut will have the ‘smart carts’, although it appears very likely that they will given the entire automated supermarket process hinges on them.
However, the publication identified one problem with the carts that is said to concern consumers.
Shoppers are unable to take the carts outside of the store and push them to their cars, meaning they have to lug their groceries to the car from the supermarket.
Still, Amazon is reported to be at least two years ahead of other supermarkets in applying automated cashless checkouts to their stores.
If consumers take to Amazon’s register-free supermarkets, there are fears that the role of traditional cashiers could soon be made obsolete in the coming years.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 3.7 million Americans were employed as cashiers in the year 2019.
Job losses for cashiers could also occur worldwide as technology improves and automation becomes more commplace.
Amazon also appears to have plans to take their register-free supermarkets global, with an Amazon Fresh opening in London last month.
Amazon rolls out Pay-By-Palm at some Whole Foods stores
Amazon.com Inc said it is rolling out biometric technology at its Whole Foods stores around Seattle starting on Wednesday
Meanwhile, Amazon is unveiling more state-of-the-art technology in its Whole Food supermarkets.
The company announced Wednesday it will let customers pay for their groceries at Whole Foods locations in Seattle with a swipe of their palms.
The online shopping giant, which acquired Whole Foods in 2017, is rolling out pay-by-palm technology at some grocery stores near Amazon’s headquarters to make paying quicker and more convenient.
The technology, called Amazon One, lets shoppers scan the palm of their hand and connect it to a credit card or Amazon account.
After the initial set up, which Amazon claims takes less than a minute, shoppers can scan their hand at the register to pay for groceries without having to open their wallets.
Amazon first launched the technology late last year and at the time said the technology could be used at stadiums, office buildings and other retailers.