How Amazon Is Giving Whole Foods Shoppers A New Way To Check Out

While some grocery stores require a quarter for a shopping cart and your own shopping bags, Amazon and Whole Foods are giving new meaning to self-checkout. Although consumers want convenience with their shopping experience, Food & Wine reports that the new Amazon Dash Cart will be rolling into some Whole Foods locations relatively soon. The cart features artificial intelligence (AI) technology that tallies items placed into the cart and avoids the checkout line completely. These technologically advanced helpers are meant to make shopping a breeze and the process should help avoid long lines of shoppers waiting to pay for their groceries.

The latest cart announcement is not a totally new innovation from Amazon. As reported by CNBC, the Dash Carts were tested in 2020 as an extension of its "cashierless" concepts. The difference with this expansion is that the carts have been upgraded. According to Amazon, the new features include weather-resistant characteristics, additional cart space, extended battery life, more screen features, and an overall enhanced interactive shopping experience. While the latest rollout phase is limited, the goal is to continue expansion into Whole Foods stores and other Amazon Fresh stores. Whether or not consumers find this concept a pleasurable shopping experience or more on the problematic side can only be answered by taking it up and down the aisles for a test drive.

Is phasing out the store cashier the best option?

In a world full of Karens, the idea of service with a smile might now be more of a meme than a reality. Add to that scenario impatient shoppers and futuristic paying options, and the traditional checkout lane seems to have evolved to a beep and a bag versus a casual conversation about paper versus plastic. As Amazon rolls out its newest version of the Dash Cart, it brings back the debate whether the store functions better with or without a human cashier. 

Amazon is not the only store to test smart carts. In 2021, Super Market News reported on Kroger's KroGo Carts. While the seamless shopping experience appeared to be a good idea, those carts are not yet widely available. Whether it's the cost, technology, or something else, these intelligent carts are not part of every grocery store corral.

While CNN Business reports that self-check options are rising, stores and consumers are not appreciating the "alleged" convenience. From the operating expenses to the frustration of its function, it appears that there is a skill to being an efficient store clerk. Even though self-checkout or smart carts hope to make shopping convenient, some consumers might long for the days of the simple question, "did you find everything you needed?" when paying for those groceries.