Amazon has opened its first namesake grocery store, Amazon Fresh, in Woodland Hills, CA, and, as you’d expect, it’s packed with retail innovation.
Amazon swiftly disrupted the grocery industry with its purchase of Whole Foods Market three years ago. Then, last November, it confirmed plans to expand its grocery prowess with the Woodland Hills store opening, which the retailer dubbed "Amazon's first grocery store.”
Now, the 35,000-square-foot Amazon Fresh supermarket has opened to invited customers in the local area, before it opens widely to the public in the coming weeks. Here, RIS takes you inside.
The first thing to take note of, is the store offers free, same-day delivery and pickup for Prime members. Customers can pickup their orders by visiting the service counter or by pulling up to a dedicated pickup parking spot. Amazon Fresh also offers Amazon.com package pickup and free package-less product returns.
Shoppers can also request Order Ahead items from the deli, meat, and seafood counters, as well as pizzas, via the Amazon app when they arrive or on the way there. When Order Ahead items are ready, the shopper will be notified for pickup at the service counter.
The store also marks the launch of the new Amazon Dash Cart, announced in July, which enables customers to skip the checkout line. Customers can use the innovative shopping cart by placing their bags inside, signing in using their Fresh QR code in the Amazon app, shopping, and finally, just exiting the store through the Dash Cart lane to automatically complete their payment. The cart uses a combination of computer vision algorithms and sensor fusion to identify items put in the cart.
In addition, there are traditional checkout lanes and the store will accept cash and SNAP benefits.
In yet another tech feature new to grocery shopping, Amazon Echo Show devices can be found throughout the aisles. Shoppers can use the devices to ask Alexa for help around the store by saying something like, "Alexa, where can I find the hot sauce?"
Additionally, customers can find items in the store faster by using Alexa and Alexa shopping lists. When Inside the store, shoppers can access their Alexa shopping list through the Amazon app or on the Amazon Dash Cart, enabling them to navigate aisles and check off items as they shop.
The aisles offer prepared foods; conventional produce, meat, and seafood; 365 by Whole Foods Market organics; national brands; local brands; regional favorites not typically found in LA; and new Amazon exclusive brands like Fresh and Cursive.
For now, the store will be and operating at 50% capacity due to the health crisis. Daily temperature checks are required for all employees. Face coverings are required for both employees and customers entering the store, but Amazon is offering free, disposable masks for any customer who wants one. Store hours are daily from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. PT.