Amazon food stores dropping Just Walk Out payments — and want you to scan all your groceries instead

Amazon Fresh store London
(Image credit: Amazon)

Amazon has announced it will be dropping its "Just Walk Out" payment scheme from many of its grocery stores in the US.

A report from The Information claims the ecommerce giant is set to remove the method, which did away with physical checkouts in Amazon Fresh stores, in favor of a "Dash Carts" system that sees shoppers themselves do much of the scanning.

The move will primarily affect the larger Amazon Fresh stores, but some smaller properties will keep the technology, possibly as a testbed for a future expansion or return.

Amazon ditches Just Walk Out

First launched in 2016, the Just Walk Out technology was a game-changer when initially rolled out in the company's Amazon Go stores. Powered by a network of cameras and sensors on the shelves and in the stores, the system synced up with a user's Amazon account when they entered, automatically detecting which products were selected, and then deducting the amount from a user's account when they left.

However this promise of full automation quickly raised eyebrows, with later reports claiming that the system was not quite what it seemed, with an investigation claiming over 1,000 real people in India were monitoring store camera feeds in order to ensure accurate checkouts.

Consumer groups also raised concerns over privacy, with Amazon Fresh stores reportedly collecting large amounts of biometric information as users shopped, leading to a lawsuit in March 2023 complaining about data being gathered without permission.

The company has recently revealed an expansion to its Amazon One palm-scanning technology aimed at boosting sign-ups and removing friction in its grocery stores, with a new mobile app allowing users to sign up at home before visiting a store.

Now, it seems the Dash Carts technology, where users scan each item added to their basket with a handheld device built into the carts themselves, will become the primary checkout system. The carts are also equipped with sensors and scales to monitor fresh produce, following multiple examples already launched at other supermarkets in the UK and Europe.

TechRadar Pro has contacted Amazon for comment.

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Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.