Amazon removes Just Walk Out technology from fresh grocery stores: NPR

An Amazon Fresh grocery store is shown on February 4, 2022 in Warrington, Pennsylvania. Amazon is removing Just Walk Out technology from Amazon Fresh stores as part of an effort to revamp the grocery chain.

Matt Rourke/AP


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Matt Rourke/AP


An Amazon Fresh grocery store is shown on February 4, 2022 in Warrington, Pennsylvania. Amazon is removing Just Walk Out technology from Amazon Fresh stores as part of an effort to revamp the grocery chain.

Matt Rourke/AP

NEW YORK — Amazon is removing Just Walk Out technology from its Amazon Fresh stores as part of its effort to revamp the grocery chain.

The company's well-known technology allows customers to pay for items without standing in line and send them receipts afterward. Amazon says they will now be replaced with smart carts that allow customers to skip the checkout line while also seeing their spending in real time.

While redesigning Fresh stores last year, Carly Golden, an Amazon spokeswoman, said the company heard from customers who enjoyed skipping the checkout line but also wanted to display their receipts and savings while shopping. Golden said the smart carts will give customers these benefits in addition to the ease of skipping the checkout line.

Amazon's decision was first reported by The Information.

Seattle-based Amazon operates dozens of fresh grocery stores across the country, mostly in California, Illinois, Virginia and Washington. The company also operates cashier-free convenience stores under the Amazon Go brand and owns Whole Foods, which it bought in 2017 for $13.7 billion.

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Despite expectations that Amazon's entry into the grocery sector would disrupt the market, the company has struggled to find what works.

In 2023, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy wrote in his annual letter to shareholders that Amazon was working to find the right formula that would allow it to have a greater impact on physical grocery. The company closed some Amazon Fresh and Go stores that didn't deliver on its promises and said early last year it was pausing expansion of Fresh stores.

In November, the company reopened three new stores in Los Angeles, California. Golden, the Amazon spokesman, said the company is now focusing on opening new stores “selectively” and redesigning the majority of its existing stores.

The Just Walk Out technology will continue to be offered in Amazon Go stores and some smaller Amazon Fresh stores in the UK, the company said. It will also continue to provide technology to third-party retailers.

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