Amazon Retracts Cashier-less Technology from Grocery Stores, Rolls Out Dash Cart

Amazon’s ambitious venture into cashier-less technology, once hailed as the future of retail, faces a setback as the company withdraws its “Just Walk Out” system from US Amazon Fresh grocery stores. The move marks a significant shift from the grand promises of automated, frictionless checkout.

Instead of the cashier-less technology, Amazon is introducing Dash Cart at its more than 40 locations, offering shoppers a “smart shopping cart” experience. Dash Cart allows customers to scan groceries, link to online shopping lists, and check out their items seamlessly. While Dash Cart has been tested in select Fresh and Whole Foods locations previously, it now takes centre stage as Amazon’s new approach to grocery shopping convenience.

The decision to remove the cashier-less technology comes amidst challenges in customer adoption, particularly in grocery stores where shoppers often handle larger quantities and face additional tasks like weighing produce. While Amazon acknowledges the potential for smoother checkout experiences in smaller stores, such as Amazon Go convenience stores, the technology failed to gain traction in the grocery setting.

Despite the setback, Amazon remains committed to cashier-less technology in other formats, including Amazon Go stores, smaller Fresh stores in the UK, and select third-party locations like sports stadiums and college campuses. The company is also reducing the reliance on human oversight in the “Just Walk Out” technology, leveraging data associates primarily for technology development and validation.

In response to changing dynamics in the retail landscape, Amazon is installing self-checkout kiosks and assisted checkout options at Fresh locations transitioning to Dash Cart usage. This move reflects a broader industry trend, with retailers like Dollar General, Walmart, and Costco reevaluating the efficacy of self-checkout systems due to increased merchandise losses.

Amazon’s foray into grocery retail has encountered challenges since the debut of its first Amazon Fresh store in 2020. Despite efforts to streamline operations and enhance customer experience, setbacks such as shopper reluctance and workforce reductions have impeded progress. As Amazon reevaluates its approach, redesigns in select Fresh stores signal ongoing experimentation and adaptation to consumer preferences.

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