Grocery shoppers at Whole Foods Market soon will be able to pay for groceries without cash, credit cards or even a smartphone app.
Amazon announced April 21 that it is launching its Amazon One technology at Whole Foods Market in Seattle, with plans to expand the tech cross the chain in the coming months. Amazon One allows shoppers to pay using the palm of their hand: their unique palm signature, as Amazon calls it.
Amazon first introduced the technology in September as an entry and payment option at several non-Whole Foods stores in the Seattle area, including Amazon Go, Amazon Go Grocery, Amazon Books, Amazon 4-star and Amazon Pop Up.
Amazon says thousands of customers have signed up for the service, and feedback has been great — customers have shared they appreciate how quick it is to enroll and use, and that its contactless nature has been helpful in the current environment.
"Over the past several years, we’ve focused on innovating on behalf of our customers to make their shopping trips easier and more effortless," said Dilip Kumar, VP, physical retail and technology at Amazon. "We started with Just Walk Out technology in Amazon Go, and we have since brought that experience to new store formats and locations, and made it available as a service to third-party retailers to use in their stores. We built the Amazon Dash Cart, a smart shopping cart that helps customers in our Amazon Fresh grocery stores skip the checkout line and roll out when they’re done. Most recently, we introduced Amazon One, a fast, convenient, contactless way for people to use their palm to enter, identify and pay."
Customers who are new to using Amazon One can sign up at any Amazon One kiosk or device in participating stores, and enrollment takes less than a minute. After they insert their credit card, customers hover their palm over the device and follow the prompts to associate that card with the unique palm signature being built in real-time for them by computer vision technology. Customers will have the option to enroll with just one palm or both. Once enrolled, customers can use Amazon One to pay at participating Whole Foods Market stores in about a second or so. If customers have previously signed up for Amazon One at an Amazon store, they may need to re-insert their credit card one time at an Amazon One device in a Whole Foods Market so they can continue to use the service in those stores. And, if customers choose to link their Amazon One ID with their Amazon account, they can automatically get their Prime member discount as usual at Whole Foods Market.
“At Whole Foods Market, we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to improve the shopping experience for our customers,” said Arun Rajan, SVP of technology and chief technology officer at Whole Foods Market. “Working closely with Amazon, we’ve brought benefits like Prime member discounts, online grocery delivery and pickup, and free returns to our customers, and we’re excited to add Amazon One as a payment option beginning today. We’re starting with an initial store at Madison Broadway in Seattle and look forward to hearing what customers think as we expand this option to additional stores over time.”
Here's an FAQ on how Amazon One works:
What is the device actually scanning when it creates my unique palm signature?
When you hold your palm over the Amazon One device, the technology evaluates multiple aspects of your palm. No two palms are alike, so it analyzes all these aspects with vision technology and select the most distinct identifiers on your palm to create your palm signature.
How do you protect customer data?
Amazon takes data security and privacy seriously, and any sensitive data is treated in accordance with long-standing policies. With this in mind, Amazon One is designed to be highly secure. For example, the Amazon One device is protected by multiple security controls, and palm images are never stored on the Amazon One device. Rather, the images are encrypted and sent to a highly secure area custom-built for Amazon One in the cloud where your palm signature is created.
If I decide I don’t want to use Amazon One any more after signing up, can I delete my biometric data?
Yes, you can request deletion by unenrolling on any Amazon One device or via the online customer portal at one.amazon.com, and your biometric data will be deleted after completion of any remaining transactions.
Can customers still check out with a regular credit card or cash at Whole Foods Market stores?
Yes, customers can still pay and check out using a credit card, cash or any other form of payment accepted at Whole Foods Market. Amazon One is just an additional payment option at checkout.
Will this affect Whole Foods Market Team Member jobs?
No, Amazon One is an additional payment option at checkout, and Whole Foods Market Team Members will continue to maintain all of their current responsibilities.
What other Whole Foods Market stores will offer Amazon One as an option?
It will start with the Whole Foods Market store at Madison Broadway, but Amazon plans to add it as an option to the following additional Whole Foods Market stores in the Seattle area in the coming months: West Seattle, Interbay, Westlake, Kirkland, Lynnwood, Roosevelt Square and Redmond.
Do you have any third-party customers who plan to use Amazon One?
Amazon is excited to see Amazon One in more retail environments and are in active discussions with several potential customers, so stay tuned.
The first national certified-organic grocer, Whole Foods has more than 500 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The grocer is No. 24 on The PG 100 list, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on PG’s list.