Amazon Opens Its First Checkout-Free Supermarket

Amazon Opens Its First Checkout-Free Supermarket
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Just a year after debuting the concept for the cashierless supermarket, Amazon Go, is now a reality. And still not a cashier in sight.

The Seattle-based market — which is just about the size of a small bodega — opened its doors this week with no checkout lines. Not because the store wasn’t busy, but because it literally has no checkout registers. Everything is done through an app.

The store allows customers to use a proprietary Amazon technology called Just Walk Out, which is connected to a smartphone and a current credit card. Customers using the app must scan their phones at a turnstile when they enter the store. They can then leave with any item and the app tallies up the bill, charges the account on the phone, and sends the customer a digital receipt.So, the customers literally walk out of the store with whatever items they want — no removing groceries from cart or basket onto the register conveyor and then back into bags into carts, etc. And, of course, that means no long checkout lines to navigate, either.

Amazon isn’t revealing exactly how the technology works, but with Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods — the nation’s premier food retailer — interest in revolutionizing the grocery experience is a clear priority for the online giant. But don’t expect to see the checkout lines at your local Whole Foods disappear anytime soon. The store, which was supposed to open last year, was delayed due to issues with the Just Walk Out tech. And a supermarket the size of Whole Foods contains too many items to work with the technology in its current capacity. But it’s bound to catch up, especially with high levels of consumer interest.

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. www.jillettinger.com.