Imagine with me, if you will: You walk into a grocery store, grab your cart, and use the onboard touchscreen to log in to your Amazon account. Items are added to your bill as you put them in the cart, and when you’re done, you automatically pay and leave. That’s the future Amazon is making a reality with its first Fresh grocery store.
The store opened this week in Los Angeles and is currently operating on an invite-only basis. It uses the company’s custom-made Dash carts, which include touchscreens for logging into your Amazon account, along with cameras and sensors to automatically detect items as they’re put in. You can even access shopping lists made with Alexa directly from the cart.
If you’ve been following along closely, this may sound familiar—Amazon launched a similar-but-not-identical kind of experience with its Go Grocery store in Seattle earlier this year. The Fresh store is different in a number of ways, though, as it offers carts instead of store-wide cameras and pressure sensors in the shelves. Nor does it allow users to just take their items and walk out like Go Grocery.
The Fresh store offers a bigger variety, more options (the Fresh store is three times the size of Go Grocery), and interesting features like Echo Shows around the store so shoppers can ask Alexa for help finding things. That’s neat.
The Fresh store isn’t just about prepackaged groceries either. (I mean, are those really “fresh?”) It will have things like bread, pizzas, rotisserie chicken, and hot sandwiches prepared on-site, too. Now that’s fresh. 😉
The Fresh Store is the first of its kind and is currently open by invitation only. Amazon anticipates it will open to all users “in the coming weeks.”