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04/07/2022

Amazon targets Virginia for cashierless grocery store expansion

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Amazon One palm
Amazon is bringing palm-based payment to an Amazon Fresh store in Virginia.

Amazon has opened a new Amazon Fresh store in Virginia, and it’s just the beginning of a planned expansion in the state.

Amazon’s newest high-tech Amazon Fresh store in Fairfax, Va. is its second location in Virginia and its 27th overall. Open as of Thursday, April 7, 2022, the store measures approximately 30,000 sq. ft. The company is also now hiring for hundreds of employees across three new Amazon Fresh locations planned to open in Northern Virginia in Lorton, Manassas, and Arlington.

The new Fairfax store is also the first Amazon Fresh store in Virginia to feature Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology. Customers who opt for Just Walk Out shopping can enter the store by scanning the in-store QR code in their Amazon app, use the Amazon One proprietary palm payment solution, or insert a credit or debit card linked to their Amazon account to open the Just Walk Out gates.

Just Walk Out leverages a combination of computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning that enables shoppers to shop the store, pick out what they want and skip the checkout when they’re done. Anyone shopping at the new Amazon Fresh store can utilize the cashierless technology, which connects to their Amazon account or credit card.

Once inside the store, customers can shop like normal. Anything they take off the shelf is automatically added to their virtual cart, and anything they put back on the shelf comes out of their virtual cart. At the end of their trip, customers scan their QR code or palm again to exit.

[Read more: First Look: Amazon debuts new high-tech grocery store]

Amazon is opening its latest high-tech Amazon Fresh location with Just Walk Out shopping about a month after opening a Just Walk Out-enabled Amazon Fresh store in Naperville, Ill. So far in 2022, Amazon has also provided Just Walk Out at a newly opened Amazon Fresh store in Moorpark, Calif., as well as launching the autonomous checkout experience in its Whole Foods Market division at a store in Washington, D.C. The company plans to additionally open a “Just Walk Out”-enabled Whole Foods store in Sherman Oaks, Calif., during 2022.

Originally available only in Amazon Go convenience and small-format grocery stores, Amazon then began rolling out Just Walk Out to select Amazon Fresh high-tech grocery locations and also licenses the technology to third-party retailers.

Amazon focuses on frictionless shopping
Amazon continues opening grocery and convenience stores equipped with self-checkout and automated checkout options as it prepares to close  68 brick-and-mortar stores, including its Amazon Books locations and Amazon 4-star locations, along with Amazon Pop Up sites.

“We’ve decided to close our Amazon 4-star, Books, and Pop Up stores, and focus more on our Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market, Amazon Go, and Amazon Style stores and our Just Walk Out technology," an Amazon spokesperson recently told Chain Store Age. "We remain committed to building great, long-term physical retail experiences and technologies, and we’re working closely with our affected employees to help them find new roles within Amazon.”

Amazon now operates 27 Amazon Fresh stores across the U.S., including 11 in California, seven in Illinois, four in Washington state (including one designed to be zero net carbon), two in Virginia, and one each in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Amazon Fresh stores are designed from the ground up to offer a seamless shopping experience, with extra features for members of the Amazon Prime paid loyalty program.