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Amazon phases out checkout-less grocery stores in the US

Amazon, the tech giant that is known for innovation, is making a significant shift in its grocery store strategy, as reported by The Information on Tuesday. The company has decided to phase out its checkout-less grocery stores equipped with “Just Walk Out” technology, opting instead for alternative solutions like Dash Carts and self-checkout counters.

The “Just Walk Out” technology, introduced by Amazon in 2016, aimed to revolutionize the grocery shopping experience by allowing customers to skip traditional checkouts. However, the system, which relied on cameras and sensors to track customers’ purchases, faced challenges in terms of reliability and operational efficiency.

Despite being implemented in just over half of Amazon Fresh stores, the technology required extensive human intervention to ensure accurate checkouts. Over 1,000 individuals in India were tasked with monitoring and labeling videos to validate purchases, significantly undermining the system’s purported automation.

In response to these challenges, Amazon has shifted its focus to Dash Carts, which feature built-in scanners and screens, enabling customers to checkout as they shop. This alternative offers a more reliable solution compared to the complexities associated with the “Just Walk Out” technology.

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the transition, stating, “We’re rolling out Amazon Dash Cart, our smart-shopping carts,” adding that the feature would replace the “Just Walk Out” technology in existing stores.

Despite its ambitious vision, “Just Walk Out” technology faced criticism for its operational inefficiencies and high costs. The system’s reliance on offshore cashiers to monitor and validate purchases contributed to delays in generating receipts for customers, raising concerns about the technology’s viability.

According to reports, a significant portion of transactions utilizing “Just Walk Out” technology required human reviews, falling short of Amazon’s internal targets. However, Amazon disputed these claims, emphasizing the role of machine learning data associates in continuously improving the technology’s performance.

While Amazon Fresh stores in the United States will transition away from “Just Walk Out” technology, the company plans to retain it in select locations in the United Kingdom and in some Amazon Go convenience stores. Additionally, the technology will continue to operate in several ballparks across the country which also hints towards some misdeeds with its technology.

Alf Alferez
Alf Alferez
Dedicated writer with a strong track record of developing customer loyalty and managing general office operations. Enjoy being a part of a company where my skills and creative ideas will benefit the overall productivity of the organization. I have a strong desire to work in helping make the world a better place. Please reach out to me on alf@ecommercenext.org

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