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Amazon Fresh Moves Away from Their Cashierless Checkout System

ByHuey Yee Ong

Apr 7, 2024
Amazon Fresh Moves Away from Their Cashierless Checkout System

Amazon Fresh Moves Away from Their Cashierless Checkout System

Amazon is dialing back on futuristic shopping technology in its grocery stores, moving away from its cashierless “Just Walk Out” (JWO) technology at its U.S. Amazon Fresh locations.

Initially celebrated as a revolutionary step in retail, the company confirmed it’s shifting focus to enhance the customer shopping experience with technology that customers feel more comfortable using, such as Dash Carts.

A display on the cart automatically calculates the total cost of each order.
Credits: Amazon

The Evolution of Just Walk Out Technology

The “Just Walk Out” technology, launched in 2018 in a Seattle convenience store, allowed customers to shop without the hassle of checkout lines. Items were automatically charged to the shopper’s Amazon account through a network of cameras and sensors monitoring item selection.

Despite the innovation, this system, rooted in artificial intelligence and supported by around 1,000 human moderation personnels primarily based in India, will no longer be a feature in existing or new Fresh supermarkets. The company cited the desire to provide a shopping experience that offers more value, convenience, and selection, influenced by customer feedback seeking easier ways to find products, view deals, and track spending in real-time.

What Do Customers Think About Amazon’s Grocery Tech?

Amazon spokesperson Carly Golden mentioned that redesigning several Fresh stores over the last year led to positive outcomes, including higher customer satisfaction and increased purchasing. Although customers appreciated the convenience offered by “Just Walk Out,” they expressed a need for a more interactive and informative shopping journey.

Dash Carts: The New Focus

While the removal of JWO technology marks a significant shift, Amazon will continue utilizing it in its Go convenience stores and smaller Fresh locations in the U.K. and licensing it to third-party venues such as sports stadiums and college campuses.

The technology’s departure from U.S. Fresh supermarkets coincides with a broader reevaluation of self-checkout systems across the retail industry, as companies like Dollar General, Walmart, and Costco reconsider their effectiveness due to challenges like merchandise loss.

Dash Carts, smart shopping carts equipped with technology to scan groceries and allow for a seamless checkout experience, will replace JWO in over 40 locations. This decision aligns with the broader industry and customer feedback, suggesting a preference for semi-automated checkout experiences in grocery shopping, where interactions like weighing produce and managing larger quantities of items present additional complexities.

This strategic pivot comes as Amazon Fresh, launched in 2020 with over 40 locations nationwide, faces hurdles in attracting customers and expanding its grocery footprint.

Despite integrating cashierless checkout into Whole Foods and announcing ambitious store openings, Amazon Fresh has grappled with operational challenges, leading to layoffs and a pause in store expansions.

In an effort to recalibrate, Amazon has undertaken store redesigns in regions like Chicago and Southern California, introducing new brands, quick meal options, and integrating Dash Carts and self-checkout kiosks to create a shopping experience that resonates more effectively with customers.

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Featured Image courtesy of Davide Bonaldo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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