Amazon is bringing its palm-scanning Amazon One contactless payment system to Whole Foods Market.
The retail giant said Wednesday that Amazon One, unveiled last fall, has launched at Madison Broadway Whole Foods store in Seattle and is earmarked for another seven Whole Foods locations in the Seattle area.
Offered by Amazon’s physical retail team, Amazon One uses custom-built algorithms and hardware to scan a person’s unique palm signature and provide a fast, convenient 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.
“At Whole Foods Market, we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to improve the shopping experience for our customers,” Arun Rajan, senior vice president of technology and chief technology officer at Whole Foods Market, said in a statement. “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.”
The Amazon One device uses computer vision technology to create shoppers' unique palm signatures.
Plans call for the technology to be deployed at Whole Foods stores in West Seattle, Interbay, Westlake, Kirkland, Lynnwood, Roosevelt Square and Redmond, Wash. Overall, Austin, Texas-based specialty grocer Whole Foods, an Amazon subsidiary, operates 503 U.S. stores in 43 states.
“After introducing the Amazon One service last September, we’ve added it as an entry and payment option at several Amazon stores in the Seattle area, including Amazon Go, Amazon Go Grocery, Amazon Books, Amazon 4-star and Amazon Pop Up. 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 our current environment,” Dilip Kumar, vice president of physical retail and technology at Seattle-based Amazon, said in a blog post on Wednesday. “Today, I’m excited to share that customers at the Whole Foods Market store at Madison Broadway in Seattle will now be able to use Amazon One as a payment option at checkout. We also plan to add Amazon One as an option to seven additional Whole Foods Market stores in the Seattle area over the coming months.”
Customers sign up for the Amazon One 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 unique palm signature, which is built in real time via computer vision technology. Customers can enroll with one palm or both, the company said.
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.
Kumar noted that Amazon One, which is available for license by other retailers, builds on its Just Walk Out cashierless technology at Amazon Go convenience and Amazon Go Grocery stores and on its Amazon Dash Cart smart shopping cart, offered at Amazon Fresh supermarkets. Two Amazon Fresh stores in the United Kingdom — much smaller than their U.S. counterparts — also provide Just Walk Out payment.
“Over the past several years, we’ve focused on innovating on behalf of our customers to make their shopping trips easier and more effortless. 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,” Kumar said. “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.”
Regarding use of Amazon One by other retailers, Amazon said Wednesday that it’s “in active discussions with several potential customers.”
Amazon’s checkout-free solutions draw a high level of interest from U.S. consumers. Nearly 60% of more than 30,000 U.S. adults surveyed recently by opinion pollster Piplsay said they would like to have an Amazon Go in their area. Similarly, 54% of respondents who visited an Amazon Go described their experience as “excellent,” and 35% thought it was “good.” Also, 57% reported that they would be “excited” if an Amazon Go or similar cashierless, artificial intelligence-driven store opened in their neighborhood.