After making its Whole Foods Market debut in Seattle a year ago, the Amazon One contactless payment system is now rolling out to the specialty grocer’s stores in Austin, Texas.
Amazon said yesterday that the Whole Foods store in the Shops of Arbor Trails shopping center in southwestern Austin now can pay for their groceries by scanning their hand on the Amazon One palm reader at checkout. Plans call for Amazon One to be deployed at Whole Foods’ six other stores in the area, including four locations in Austin (downtown Austin, East Austin, Domain Northside and Gateway Shopping Centers) and one apiece Bee Cave and Cedar Park, Texas.
“We are excited to introduce Amazon One as an option for our Austin-area Whole Foods Market customers,” Leandro Balbinot, senior vice presient and chief technology officer at Whole Foods, said in a statement. “We are always looking for new ways to satisfy and delight our customers and offer convenient options to improve the shopping experience.”
Amazon One uses custom-built algorithms and hardware to scan a person’s unique palm signature and provide a fast and contactless means of enabling everyday activities such as checkout and payment at a store, presentation of a loyalty card, and secure entry at sites like a store, stadium or workplace. Customers sign up for the service at a special kiosk or device in participating stores, and enrollment takes less than a minute, according to Amazon. After inserting their credit card, shoppers hold their palm over the device and follow the prompts to pair the card with their palm signature, which is built in real time via computer vision technology. Customers can enroll with one palm or both.
Once the signup process is completed, customers can use Amazon One to pay at participating Whole Foods stores. Payment using Amazon One takes about a second or so, Amazon said. Shoppers who have previously signed up for Amazon One at an Amazon store may need to reinsert their credit card one time at an Amazon One device at Whole Foods to use the service in those stores. Enrollees also have the option to link their Amazon One ID with their Amazon account to get their Prime member discount and benefits at Whole Foods.
The Amazon One technology premiered at Whole Foods at the Madison Broadway store in Seattle last April and subsequently rolled out to Whole Foods stores in West Seattle, Interbay, Westlake, Kirkland, Lynnwood, Roosevelt Square and Redmond, Wash. Austin-based Whole Foods, an Amazon subsidiary, operates 511 U.S. stores in 43 states.
“Amazon One is all about making everyday activities, like paying at a store, easier and more convenient for customers,” commented Thi Luu, director of product management for Amazon physical retail technology at Seattle-based Amazon. “By signing up for Amazon One with a credit or debit card, customers have the option to simply pay with their palm and get through check out faster. We built Amazon One to offer a quick, reliable and secure way for people to identify themselves or authorize a transaction while moving seamlessly through their day.”
Amazon One builds on the company’s Just Walk Out cashierless technology pioneered at Amazon Go convenience stores and, more recently, deployed at Amazon Fresh supermarkets. Amazon Fresh also offers the Amazon Dash Cart smart shopping cart at 16 of its 27 locations, with the rest of the banner’s stores providing Just Walk Out shopping. Whole Foods currently offers Just Walk Out at two stores, with the technology making its debut at the chain’s Glover Park store in Washington, D.C., in late February, followed a month later by another new Whole Foods store in Sherman Oaks, Calif. providing Just Walk Out functionality.