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Amazon is dropping Just Walk Out technology from its grocery stores in favor of Dash Carts

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Amazon is dropping Just Walk Out technology from its grocery stores in favor of Dash Carts

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What just happened? It appears that Amazon’s dream of a totally checkout-less store is over. The company has decided to phase out its Just Walk Out technology that allows customers to grab items and leave Amazon grocery stores. All affected outlets will instead switch to Dash Carts, which Amazon says is the better technology.

Amazon’s senior vice president of grocery stores said the company is moving away from Just Walk Out technology and “sprucing up the stores across the board,” reports The Information.

The system uses cameras and sensors to track what people leave with, charging the cost to the payment method they used to enter the store. While Amazon talked about the technology being cashierless, it actually relied on more than 1,000 workers in India to monitor accuracy and label videos, essentially acting as outsourced cashiers. The Information writes that 700 out of 1,000 Just Walk Out sales required human reviewers as of 2022, missing Amazon’s goal of 50 reviews per 1,000 sales, though the company disputes these figures.

For all the hype, Just Walk Out has proved too slow for customers and too expensive for companies to implement. The overseas cashiers reportedly took a long time to send back data, meaning customers wouldn’t receive their receipts until hours after leaving the store. There have also been questions raised over Amazon collecting and sharing data on customers’ shopping habits.

Just over half of all Amazon Fresh stores use Just Walk Out tech. The systems will be phased out in favor of Dash Carts, which involves scanning a QR code to start a session, scanning products as they’re added to the cart or using the touchscreen for lookups, then exiting through the Dash Cart lane or checking out at a register. The system is basically a self-checkout machine strapped to a cart with a few added extras, and while it’s not perfect, it’s certainly more accurate and cheaper than the alternative.

The decision doesn’t spell the end of Just Walk Out technology, at least not yet. Amazon is reportedly keeping the system in a small number of Fresh stores in the United Kingdom, and in some Amazon Go stores. It will also remain in place at the ballparks that use the technology.

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