Amazon’s cashierless checkout technology could soon be coming to its growing line of Fresh grocery stores.
Features of Amazon’s automated checkout technology, called “Just Walk Out,” appear in planning documents for a store under construction in a suburban shopping plaza in Brookfield, Connecticut. The technology allows customers to skip the checkout line by tracking any items they grab and charging them when they leave.
Amazon declined to comment. News of Amazon’s plans was first reported by Bloomberg.
The documents show gated entry and exit lanes at the front of the store, where shoppers would presumably scan an app or credit card as they come in, as well as hardware to potentially house ceiling-mounted cameras that track which items shoppers pick up in the store. The documents also mention an electronic shelving system, a feature Amazon has deployed in its Fresh and cashierless Go convenience stores.
Additionally, a large staging area appears at the front of the proposed store layout. Fresh stores have a dedicated section where customers can pick up amazon.com or grocery orders placed online or return their packages for free.
It’s unclear if the store will incorporate other high-tech elements featured in Fresh stores, such as its recently launched Dash Carts, which are smart shopping carts that let shoppers check out without waiting in line.
In September, Amazon opened its first Fresh grocery store in Los Angeles’ Woodland Hills neighborhood. It has since opened a dozen stores, located in southern California and in several suburbs of Chicago. The company also plans to open a handful of stores on the East Coast.
If Amazon ends up launching cashierless checkout technology in Fresh stores, it would represent an industry feat. Start-ups such as Standard Cognition, AiFi and Grabango have all developed autonomous systems for retailers, but widespread adoption has been slow, as the technology remains costly and challenging to deploy in large store formats.
Amazon Fresh stores are roughly 35,000 square feet, or about the size of a store in Amazon’s other grocery chain, Whole Foods. The format incorporates a blend of in-store and online shopping, while offering consumers a variety of products at lower price points than the largely upscale options offered at Whole Foods.