Amazon’s cashierless tech is coming to Whole Foods stores


A year and a half after Amazon said there were “no plans…for now” to implement its cashierless technology in Whole Foods stores, it’s now happening.

Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology is coming to Whole Foods in the U.S. starting with two new stores in 2022. Customers will be able to skip the checkouts at a store in Sherman Oaks, California, and one in Washington, D.C.’s Glover Park.

Amazon’s cashierless technology currently runs in its Amazon Go convenience stores, as well as some of its Amazon Fresh grocery stores. It allows customers to enter a store with their credit card and grab items. Sensors and cameras detect when an item is picked up from the shelf or returned, and tracks everything in a virtual cart. Then, you can leave the store and get a digital receipt. You don’t have to have Amazon Prime, but you do need to have an Amazon account to shop.

There will be three ways customers can use Just Walk Out in Whole Foods: the credit card method above, paying with their own hovering palm using Amazon One, or scanning the QR code in the Whole Foods or Amazon app. Self-checkout options will still be available, and customers using cash or gift cards will need to use these.

The news was announced by Amazon’s vice president of physical retail and technology, Dilip Kumar, in a blog post Wednesday.

In February 2020, Kumar told Recode of the Just Walk Out technology, “There’s no plans to put this in a Whole Foods, for now…For now, what we are focused on is this concept and see what customers think of it — [and] go from there.”

In today’s blog post, Kumar wrote, “We launched the technology first in Amazon Go several years ago and, since then, we’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from customers.”

It’s notable he also included an answer to this question: Will Whole Foods Market Team members still work in these stores?

“Yes, these locations will employ a comparable number of Team Members as existing Whole Foods Market stores of similar sizes,” he wrote. “With Just Walk Out-enabled Whole Foods Market stores, how Team Members in the store spend their time is simply shifting, allowing them to spend even more time interacting with customers and delivering a great shopping experience.”

We’ll see. And just remember when you’re walking out with your groceries, “You guys paid for all this.”

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