There will be something missing at two Whole Foods Market Inc stores opening next year: the rows of cashiers.
Amazon.com Inc, which owns the grocery chain, yesterday said that it would bring its cashierless technology to two Whole Foods stores for the first time, letting shoppers grab what they need and leave without having to open their wallets.
Cameras and sensors track what is taken off shelves, and items are charged to an Amazon account after customers leave the store with them.
However, there would be an option for those who want to shop the old-fashioned way: Self-checkout lanes are to be available that take cash, gift cards and other types of payment.
Amazon first unveiled the cashierless technology in 2018 at an Amazon Go convenience store and has expanded it to larger Amazon supermarkets, but it would be the first time it has appeared at Whole Foods, a chain of more than 500 grocery stores Amazon bought four years ago.
One of the new stores is to be in Washington; the other in Sherman Oaks, California. They are to be stocked with the typical Whole Foods fare, including seafood, fresh-squeezed orange juice and organic vegetables.
Even with the technology, Amazon said it would still hire about the same number of workers for the stores as usual, except they would have different roles, helping shoppers in the aisles or at counters instead of standing behind a register.
The company declined to say how many people it plans to hire.
It also declined to say if it plans to bring the technology to more Whole Foods locations.
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