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02/23/2022

Whole Foods Market Debuts Just Walk Out Shopping

Washington, D.C., store is 1st of many to get cashierless tech
Gina Acosta
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The Whole Foods Market in Glover Park now offers checkout-free shopping.

Amazon has finally brought Just Walk Out technology to its Whole Foods Market banner.

The company has opened its first Whole Foods Market store  at 2323 Wisconsin Ave. N.W. in Washington, D.C.’s Glover Park neighborhood  with cashierless technology.

The 21,500-square-foot store opened on Feb. 23 and offers a wide variety of local products, all hand-selected by Whole Foods Market Mid Atlantic’s Local Forager Kathleen Leverenz.

As previously announced, the Glover Park store is the first of two Whole Foods Market stores expected to open this year that feature Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology. With Just Walk Out shopping, the store provides customers the choice to skip the register for a faster, more convenient shopping experience.

Additional highlights of the Glover Park store include:

  • Prepared foods section with hot and cold food bars and large assortment of ready-to-eat soups. Fresh Kikka Sushi, New York style pizza and a hot bistro station that accommodates a variety of tastes and dietary preferences.
  • An array of organic, conventional, local and Sourced for Good produce, plus local offerings including packaged salads from Bowery Farming’s Nottingham, Md., farm and Gotham Greens’ Baltimore farm, as well as dressings from Tessamae’s.
  • Seafood counter providing a full-service experience that includes cleaning shrimp, custom cutting and deboning fillets and preparing whole fish to preference. All seafood is either sustainable wild-caught or Responsibly Farmed. Local offerings include smoked fish from Ivy City Smokehouse, Maryland crabmeat from M. Clayton Seafood Co., whole fish from George’s Seafood and “Skinny Dipper” oysters from True Chesapeake Oyster Co.
  • Full-service butcher available to custom cut meats, debone poultry and prepare special orders. Department includes house-made sausage and oven-ready items, as well as smoked meats from Wellshire Farms that are exclusive to Whole Foods Market with no nitrates or additives and Animal Welfare Certified pork from Thompson Farms.
  • Specialty department dedicated to celebrating cheesemakers, artisan producers and specialty foods like chocolate. The cheese department is overseen by an in-store Cheese Monger who can custom cut cheese, offer recommendations for any occasion and create custom boards. Local offerings across the department include the Merry Goat Round Spruce Reserve from Firefly Farms, Bourbon Barrel Aged Chocolate from Harper Macaw and Everything Crackers from Firehook.
  • Grocery products from local creators, including snacks from Route 11 Potato Chips and Snacklins, unique granolas from Michele’s GranolaOh-Mazing Granola Snacks and Hudson Henry Baking Co., as well as authentic Ethiopian lentil dips and injera crisps from Tsiona Foods.
  • Extensive selection of more than 250 beers and more than 500 wines from 50 local suppliers, including traditional bottled and canned wines from Maryland’s Old Westminster Winery and C. beers from Atlas Brew Works and Right Proper Brewing Co.
  • Bakery offering house-made custom decorated cakes, scratch-made breads and options for dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan treats. Department features items from several local bakeries, including cookies and pies from Whisked!, breads from Crest Hill Bakery and cake slices from Sweet and Natural.
  • Wellness and beauty section featuring local items such as soy candles from Frères Branchiaux Candles and Handmade Habitat, Clay Mask and Orange Tolu Soap from District Batch, African Black Soap and Whipped Shea Butter from Shea Radiance and food-themed dish towels from The Neighborgoods.

It seems longer ago, but it’s only been four years since Amazon debuted Just Walk Out technology at an 1,800-square-foot Amazon Go store in Seattle that allowed shoppers to exit a store without stopping at a checkout. Shoppers using Just Walk Out also have the option to use Amazon One, a contactless way for people to enter, identify and pay using their palm. After customers leave the store, those who use the Just Walk Out experience receive a digital receipt. 

Last September, the company revealed that it would be rolling out Just Walk Out to full-size supermarkets: select Whole Foods Market and Amazon Fresh stores. Amazon scaling contactless payment options and its Just Walk Out innovation in 2022 couldn’t be more ideally timed. The pandemic has prompted consumers to favor the perceived safety and convenience of innovations such as Just Walk Out tech. According to Amazon, it’s hearing from shoppers across its grocery ecosystem that they want to skip the hassle, stress and pandemic-unfriendly crowding associated with checkout lanes.

“We’ve heard from customers how much they appreciate the checkout-free shopping experience that Just Walk Out technology offers at both Amazon’s stores and other retailers’ stores,” said Dilip Kumar, VP, physical retail and technology at Amazon. 

For Amazon, the artificial intelligence-driven technology could dramatically reduce labor spend and improve inventory management and overall in-store operations. In addition, it makes sense for the company to want to showcase the capabilities of Just Walk Out technology in as many stores as possible as other retailers mull whether to buy the tech. According to Bloomberg, Amazon Go collaborated with Starbucks to open a new store concept involving Just Walk Out technology, and Amazon works with third-party customers such as British grocery chain Sainsbury’s and airport c-store operator Hudson Group to enable select stores with Just Walk Out technology. 

Amazon One is now available at more than 70 Amazon physical retail stores and Whole Foods Market stores, along with third-party locations. 

The first certified-organic national grocer, Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods has more than 500 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The company is No. 26 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top retailers of food and consumables in the United States, while its parent company, Seattle-based Amazon, is No. 2 on PG’s list.

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