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Amazon cashierless grocery stores shut down

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Amazon
Amazon

Amazon.com is removing its cashierless Just Walk Out technology from grocery stores, a retreat from an ambitious system designed to let shoppers skip the line.

Amazon will remove the system as it remodels existing Fresh grocery stores and won’t feature it in new locations that will start opening later this year, an Amazon spokesman said.

Tony Hoggett, Amazon’s senior vice president of grocery stores, joined the company in 2022 and launched a far-reaching revamp of the company’s grocery business, which has struggled to build market share in an industry dominated by the likes of Walmart and Kroger.

Amazon has also scaled back its ambitions for Dash Cart, which let shoppers scan items as they go. The carts initially relied on cameras to identify what shoppers had grabbed from the shelf. Now they mostly identify items with a traditional scanner, although shoppers can still use a touchscreen to ring up merchandise without barcodes.

The system used ceiling-mounted cameras and shelf sensors, backed by algorithms, to determine what a shopper took from a store. Customers were charged automatically upon exiting.

The company began developing the technology more than a decade ago, part of a push by Jeff Bezos, then CEO, to develop a unique offering to accompany Amazon’s move into physical stores.

Alienated

The system debuted in 2018 with the opening of a convenience store in the lobby of Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. The company built dozens of Amazon Go-branded convenience stores and later installed the cashierless technology in Fresh Stores and a pair of Whole Foods Market locations.

The technology alienated some shoppers, who were put off by entry gates or the feeling that Amazon had turned a visit to the grocery store into a high-tech vending machine. Receipts, which arrived digitally a few minutes to hours after a shopper checked out, also weren’t practical for big shops.

Amazon Go stores will still use Just Walk Out technology, and the company will continue to license it to other retailers. Smaller stores in the UK also will keep using the system.

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