Amazon.com has said it is opening a supermarket in the Los Angeles metro area with shopping carts that allow customers skip checkout lines, since the e-commerce company builds out its offline presence.
The current market, in the Woodland Hills neighbourhood, is called the Amazon Fresh grocery store. It is the first location to allow clients in – by invitation only – from seven that Amazon has confirmed for Southern California and greater Chicago. The Woodland Hills website will open to the broader public in coming weeks, Amazon said.
The world’s largest online retailer has experimented with physical stores in recent years to catch more consumer spending, especially in groceries. It has more than 20 cashier-less shops with grab-and-go food for office employees and more than 500 stores in the Whole Foods Market chain it acquired in 2017.
Amazon’s most recent concept faces stiff competition from far larger incumbents Kroger Co and Albertsons Companies.
It is about the size of a Whole Foods store at 35,000 square feet (approximately 3,252 square meters) but serves a different need, not concentrated on natural and organic items, stated Amazon VP Jeff Helbling.
“We feature a lot of national brands,” he explained in an interview. Rates are “lower than the other options that the people have in the Woodland Hills area.”
The store will be the first with the”Amazon Dash Cart.” This allows shoppers filling up to two grocery bags forgo the store’s cashiers via technology systems that differentiate what they put in the cart and charge a credit card on file once customers leave through a designated lane.
The shop also has a counter for picking up and returning web orders, and channels for questioning Amazon’s voice-controlled helper Alexa concerning the store.
Amazon last month posted its largest quarterly profit ever due to internet sales throughout the coronavirus pandemic, but a 13% drop in physical store revenue.