Well, we knew it was only a matter of time before this happened: Today, Whole Foods announced they are adding Amazon’s cashierless technology to two stores in 2022. In the announcement, the retailer says Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology will be an “option” for customers in their Washington, D.C.’s Glover Park and Sherman Oaks, California locations.
Ever since Amazon acquired the iconic retailer who helped pioneer the organic and less-processed focus grocery retail movement, Whole Foods has been cautious about adding touches of Amazon to the in-store experience. Sure, we’ve seen some Whole Food Locations install pick-up lockers, but the online retailer knows as well as anyone their presence can ruffle feathers.
This is probably why Whole Foods is starting slowly with cashierless. The grocer, which only just installed self-checkout in a limited number of locations starting in 2019, will offer the technology at only two locations and, I am sure, will emphasize to long-time customers accustomed to Whole Foods customer service that this latest iteration of the grocery store express aisle only just an option.
The cashierless checkout space has changed quite a bit ever since Amazon debuted its technology at the first Amazon Go in downtown Seattle in January of 2018. Since that time, a whole new cohort of cashierless tech startups has popped up as funding has flooded into the space. Now, with Whole Foods and others helping this technology go mainstream, I don’t see this space slowing down anytime soon.