'Just walk out': Amazon launches checkout-free supermarket

·2-min read

Online retail giant Amazon has launched a supermarket first with futuristic stores designed to make grocery shopping “contactless.”

Pictures of the soon-to-be-opened Amazon Fresh show how customers can enter the store, shop and leave, all without the need to go through a traditional checkout process.

Shoppers will scan a QR code as they enter the store and then cameras and shelf weight sensors will note as customers take items from the shelves and place into their trolley or basket. The technology can also identify if a customer puts back an item if they have a change of mind.

Amazon launches Amazon Fresh stores in the UK
'As convenient as possible': Shoppers can fill up a trolley and walk out of the store without traditional checkouts or queues. Source: Amazon/Getty

Customers will be charged for the items via the Amazon app on their mobile phone, removing the need for cash, cards and checkouts.

The first Amazon Fresh will launch at Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre in the UK, with several more planned to open around London.

Matt Birch, who leads Amazon Fresh Stores in the UK, said the new stores are all about making the weekly grocery shop "as convenient as possible”.

a customer shopping at Amazon Fresh
Cameras and shelf weight sensors will note as customers take items from the shelves and place into their cart or basket. The technology can also identify if a customer puts back an item if they have a change of mind.. Source: Amazon

"The focus was just creating a really easy shopping experience for customers," he told PA.

"We recognise that UK customers want to shop in a convenient way so we really think they will appreciate being able to walk in and walk out with the shopping they need."

In the US, Amazon acquired the Whole Foods Market chain in 2017 and has around two dozen Amazon Go stores, which are cashier-less convenience stores.

While it has yet to dominate the supermarket scene outside of the US, the new Amazon Fresh stores could be a sign the online giant wants a chunk of the market, indicating in 2018 plans to open around 30 brick and mortar stores in the UK.

There is no word yet if Amazon will bring the technology to Australia.

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