Amazon brings cashierless tech to full-size grocery store for first time at new Seattle-area location


Amazon’s new Amazon Fresh store in the Seattle region features the company’s “Just Walk Out” technology that removes the need for cashiers. (Amazon Photo)

Amazon’s newest physical grocery store opening in the Seattle area this week is unique as it will feature the company’s “Just Walk Out” cashierless technology. It’s the first time the tech has come to a full-size store and marks a milestone for Amazon given the cost and complexity of implementing such a system.

Amazon on Thursday will open a 25,000 square-foot Amazon Fresh location in the Factoria neighborhood of Bellevue, Wash. GeekWire previously wrote about clues pointing to development of the store.

Amazon Fresh stores are designed to be similar to a traditional full-service grocery store but with some added technology, including smart grocery carts and Amazon Echo devices that help shoppers navigate aisles.

The Factoria store will now also feature the cashierless technology which uses an array of cameras and sensors to log what people put in their carts as they shop, eliminating checkout lines. Customers scan their phones when they enter and simply “walk out” after loading up their basket or cart. Amazon uses the tech at its smaller Amazon Go convenience stores.

With the addition of Just Walk Out, the Factoria store will not offer the smart grocery carts that automatically detect and log items on a digital display and removes the need for a traditional checkout line. Amazon said the smart carts, also known as Amazon Dash Carts, will remain available at other Amazon Fresh stores.

The first Amazon Fresh store opened this past September, and there are now eight open in the Los Angeles region, four in the Chicago area, and one in Virginia. Another is planned on Jackson Street in Seattle’s Central District. The stores sell produce, meat, prepared foods — rotisserie chickens for $4.97, pizza at $1.79 a slice — and more, and also act as return centers or delivery stations for packages.

The Factoria store, located at 3903 Factoria Sq Mall SE, will still have traditional checkout lines for those that don’t want to use Just Walk Out. It will also feature Amazon One, the company’s palm-reading ID system that recently expanded to Whole Foods stores.

Amazon said it’s focusing on Just Walk Out at the Factoria store and will “go from there” in regard to bringing the tech to other Amazon Fresh stores or Whole Foods locations.

Amazon is selling its Amazon Go technology to other retailers. There are also a flurry of competitors developing their own cashierless tech and pitching retailers.

Seattle-based Amazon continues to invest in the $658 billion U.S. grocery market. Its various grocery concepts include Amazon GoAmazon Fresh pickupAmazon Fresh deliveryWhole Foods delivery, and Prime Now delivery. Last month Amazon renamed its Amazon Go Grocery brand to just Amazon Fresh.


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