Technology Amazon scraps 'just walk out' checkouts at grocery stores

Amazon scraps 'just walk out' checkouts at grocery stores


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Amazon is scrapping its “just walk out” technology in the US after years of trying to gain traction for its checkout-free offer.

The decision to ditch the grocery store technology was revealed on Tuesday, although the move will not affect outlets in the UK.

Since its launch in 2016, the system has allowed shoppers to grab items and leave without paying at the checkout, with customers instead charged through their Amazon accounts.

Tony Hoggett, the senior vice president of Amazon’s grocery stores, told The Information that it will now prioritise smart trolley technology in the US rather than just walk out equipment.

Amazon’s so-called Dash Cart system was launched in 2020 and tracks items as shoppers put them in their trolleys.

This includes being able to weigh items and give people real-time receipts. Customers subsequently leave stores through special lanes where their cards are charged.

This system allows shoppers to track their spending in real-time rather than waiting for a receipt under the “just walk out” model.

An Amazon spokesman said the company had invested “a lot of time redesigning a number of our Amazon Fresh stores over the last year”.

They added: “We’ve also heard from customers that while they enjoyed the benefit of skipping the checkout line with just walk out, they also wanted the ability to easily find nearby products and deals, view their receipt as they shop, and know how much money they saved while shopping throughout the store.”

Amazon opened its first checkout-free supermarket in London in early 2021 as part of its push into physical stores.

However, in August 2022, it paused a roll-out of its cashierless grocery stores in the UK.

Early last year, it unveiled a wider hiatus as said it would be closing some sites. This led to the online retail giant taking a $720m (£590m) writedown on its bricks-and-mortar portfolio.

Andy Jassy, Amazon’s chief executive, said the company was “not going to expand the physical Fresh stores” until it had established how it could provide a “different offering”.

Rival supermarkets have dipped their toes into checkout-free shopping. However, many have directed spending towards cheaper alternatives such as more self-service tills.


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