There aren’t too many Amazon Fresh locations in my area. While going to lunch today, I found one near the place I ate at in Cerritos.
I had some time so I decided to check it out. The place looks like every other market/grocery store. There is someone at the entrance to greet and assist. You will need to have an Amazon account and the app installed on your phone. Open your app and select “In-Store Code” from the top menu.
A QR code will be displayed. You will need to scan this at the entrance gates. This will identify you while you are at the store so that they know which account to bill. You can either get a paper bag for 10 cents and/or use a shopping cart.
Just shop as usual. Pull anything you want off the shelf and put it in your shopping cart or bag. There are cameras all over the ceiling pointed at the shelves. There are more cameras here than you will find in casinos.
These cameras are pointed at the shelves. This is how they can determine whether a product has been removed from the shelf and add to your digital shopping cart. How do they know which cart? Well, that smart phone in your pocket lets them know who you are at any given time. They just match your GPS location, to the camera, to the item you have removed. It’s pretty neat how all this works. You can put it back on the shelf if you change your mind. The cameras will detect that. I do wonder if you change your mind and put the item back but in a different location, will it be smart enough to remove it from your shopping cart.
If you need assistance, guess who you can ask?
Just like you are at your house, you can ask Alexa where you can find certain items at the store. I felt weird asking out loud, in public though… I don’t know why. I asked where the Ensure drinks. It told me where to find it and what was available, strawberry and chocolate flavor. I went to the aisle and there it was. Unfortunately, my kids like the vanilla flavor.
Once I was done, I could either go to a traditional checkout line or just bag my stuff using the paper bag I got from the entrance (or use your own) and walk out. You will need to scan your QR code again.
After a few seconds, the gate opens and lets you out. It felt a bit weird like I was shoplifting. But I left the store and no alarms. No notifications of receipt or order information. It took around 30 minutes and the Amazon app notified me of the transaction. It hasn’t charged my card yet but it told me of the items I purchased and the total amount. It says that it will calculate everything and detect if there are any coupons or deals and will apply them automatically. These are what I purchased and what the app identified that I purchased.
Looks pretty accurate to me. I’m very impressed. Although, I didn’t really try to trick it. I didn’t have much time during lunch.
The prices seemed reasonable. I usually shop at Target and it looks like about 5-15% more expensive. They have a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables but I didn’t get any this trip. I think there may be more selections at Whole Foods and other traditional grocery stores. The big takeaway for me is the convenience of checking out. It’s fast, specially if you just need one thing and you either have to get in a long line or waiting for more registers to open. Here, you just go when you’re done.
I wish there are more locations. Hopefully, they will open one near my house.