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Amazon Continues To Innovate Grocery Stores

Image via Amazon

Back in February, Amazon opened its first Amazon Go Grocery store, marking the first grocery store to offer the company's cashier-less "Just Walk Out" technology after being implemented in 25 Amazon Go convenience stores across the U.S.

According to Amazon, the process can be explained in three simple steps. First, all you have to do is open the Amazon Go app and scan a barcode to enter to the store. Second, grab the items you want to buy and place them in a bag. Lastly, walk out of the store with your items. 

Amazon announced yesterday the debut of its latest cashier-less technology—the Amazon Dash Cart. Amazon describes the Dash Cart as "a new smart shopping cart that makes a quick grocery trip even quicker by allowing you to skip the checkout line."

Shoppers can begin shopping with the Dash Cart, which is designed for small- to medium-sized grocery trips and fits two grocery bags, by scanning a QR code in the Amazon app. The Dash Cart has a screen that provides shoppers the ability to access their Alexa Shopping List, scan coupons and see the total price of the items they've placed in the cart.

The Dash Cart uses computer vision algorithms and sensor fusion to identify items placed in the cart, as well as a built-in scale to weight items if needed. For items such as produce, shoppers type in the product code and quantity. Shoppers then exit the store through the Dash Cart lane, which uses sensors to identify the cart and process the payment via the shopper's Amazon account.

The Dash Cart will be introduced at Amazon's grocery store in Woodland Hills, CA, which Amazon says will open this year. The location is not equipped as an Amazon Go Grocery store, meaning Amazon is testing the technology in a location that resembles a traditional grocery store.

"We built this predominantly as an alternative to things like express checkout, where you still end up waiting in line, or fumbling with self-checkout machines," Amazon's vice president of physical retail and technology Dilip Kumar said. "The experience will be designed to be seamless, very convenient, very easy for customers to understand."

Given its acquisition of Whole Foods for $13.7 billion in 2017, it makes sense for Amazon to continue to innovate grocery stores. However, Amazon likely has bigger plans for its Dash Cart than just using them in its own stores. Amazon announced its "Just Walk Out" technology would be available for other retailers less than a month after expanding the technology to its Amazon Go Grocery stores, with "several" retailers already signing deals.

Researchandmarkets.com projects the global market for smart shopping carts will grow to more than $3 billion by 2025, compared to just $737 million last year.

"We will see where this goes," Kumar said. "We think customers will love this experience, and then we'll just build from there."

As Amazon continues to create new, innovative methods to do mundane tasks such as grocery shopping, it appears increasingly likely that Amazon will continue testing new technologies internally and selling them to businesses throughout the world.

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