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Amazon Opens First 'Smart' Supermarket In SoCal

by Rudy Sanchez on 09/01/2020 | 2 Minute Read

Retail giant and occasional target of President Trump’s ire, Amazon, recently announced the opening of its first Amazon Fresh store in Woodland Hills, CA. The store will feature Amazon Dash Cart, which allows for checkout-free and contact-less shopping. The store will also offer delivery and pickup options as well as integration with its e-commerce platform.

Visits will be on an invite-only at launch, and the store is the culmination of various Amazon retail experiments, including its locker program, Dash buttons, acquisition of grocer Whole Foods, and Fresh delivery. Though the store comes as consumers are concerned about contracting COVID-19 when shopping, this isn’t Amazon’s first experiment in cashier-less shopping and has been working towards a “smart” supermarket for some time.

Editorial photograph

The highlight of the new store format is the Dash Cart, which works with the shopper’s smartphone and other additional sensors to detect products as they go in the cart, automatically adding it onto the consumer’s tab. When the shopper gets everything they need, they can walk out the door, with no waiting in line to pay necessary. 

Alexa created shopping lists can also be accessed from the cart’s screen. Help from a human is available, as well as help from Alexa-powered kiosks found throughout the store, which can provide everything from wine suggestions to item locations within the store. Amazon orders can also be sent, picked-up, and returned at Fresh locations, further blurring the line between online and in-store shopping experiences.

Although Amazon’s FAQ for Fresh stores states that Amazon is only announcing the opening of the Woodland Hills store, a spokesperson for the company confirmed to the Seattle Times that they are currently staffing other locations in Southern California, Chicago, Redmond, WA, and Washington DC.

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