Amazon Removes Friction From In-Store Shopping

From Amazon Go to Amazon One, the retailer is innovating how customers shop stores with less friction.

April 26, 2021

Amazon Go Grocery store front

SEATTLE—Amazon continues to innovate the shopping experience by adding more locations that use its palm-reading biometric payment and identification technology, Amazon One.

Launched in September 2020, the company describes Amazon One as a “fast, convenient, contactless way for people to use their palm to make everyday activities like paying at a store, presenting a loyalty card, entering a location like a stadium, or badging into work more effortless. The service is designed to be highly secure and uses custom-built algorithms and hardware to create a person’s unique palm signature.”

Amazon One is used as an entry and payment option at 13 Amazon stores in the Seattle area, including Whole Foods Market, Amazon Go, Amazon Go Grocery, Amazon Books, Amazon 4-star and Amazon Pop Up.

Dilip Kumar, Amazon’s vice president of physical retail and technology, says that the technology is rolling out to seven more Whole Foods Market stores in the Seattle area in the coming months. 

“At Whole Foods Market, we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to improve the shopping experience for our customers,” said Arun Rajan, senior vice president of technology and chief technology officer at Whole Foods Market. “We’re starting with an initial store at Madison Broadway in Seattle and look forward to hearing what customers think as we expand this option to additional stores over time.”

Making shopping experiences easier and more effortless is a strategic focus for Amazon, starting with its Just Walk Out technology at Amazon Go convenience stores. Kumar notes that the company has since introduced the technology to new store formats and locations and allows third-party retailers to use it in their stores.

Amazon also could be bringing its automated checkout technology to the Amazon Fresh grocery format.

Bloomberg reported that planning documents for the new grocery store in Brookfield, Connecticut, identify “ceiling-mounted racks to run wiring to camera arrays, a setup that until now has only appeared in Amazon Go convenience stores,” suggesting that the store will use the tech at a significant scale: about 20,000 square feet of sales floor.

In early March, Amazon opened an Amazon Fresh grocery store in London, its first physical store outside the United States. The 2,500-square-foot, cashierless outlet in the Ealing borough operates like an Amazon Go store but carries a private U.K. food brand called "by Amazon" and allows customers to skip the checkout line.

The retailer is also pioneering smart-cart technology with its Dash Cart, available to shoppers at the first Amazon Fresh grocery store that opened in 2020 in Woodland Hills, California.

Customers using a Dash Cart can place their bags in the cart, sign in using their Fresh QR code in the Amazon app, shop and exit through the Dash Cart lane to automatically complete their payment. Customers can also use Alexa to while shopping to navigate aisles and find what they’re looking for. Amazon Echo Show devices are placed throughout the store so customers can ask Alexa for help.