Amazon continues opening cashierless grocery stores in California

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Amazon Fresh storefront
The Amazon Fresh high-tech grocery format has arrived in Pasadena.

Amazon is returning to Southern California for its newest Amazon Fresh high-tech grocery store, which features frictionless shopping.

Amazon is opening its 44th Amazon Fresh store, in Pasadena, Calif., as of Thursday, Sep. 15, 2022. This marks the 19th Amazon Fresh location in California, where the retailer debuted the format in Los Angeles in September 2020. Amazon Fresh stores are designed from the ground up to offer a seamless shopping experience, with extra features for members of the Amazon Prime paid loyalty program.

[Read more: First Look: Amazon debuts new high-tech grocery store]

The approximately 42,000-sq.-ft. store represents at least the 14th Amazon Fresh store introduced in 2022, including other September openings in Broomall, Pa., and in Chevy Chase, Md.August openings in Federal Way, Wash., and Thousand Oaks, Calif., and the July launch of new Amazon Fresh stores in Paramus, N.J., and Encino, Calif.

The newest Amazon Fresh site offers Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” frictionless, cashierless shopping technology. Customers who opt for Just Walk Out shopping can enter the store by scanning the in-store QR code in their Amazon app, using the Amazon One proprietary palm payment solution, or inserting a credit or debit card linked to their Amazon account to open the Just Walk Out gates.

Just Walk Out leverages a combination of computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning that enables shoppers to shop the store, pick out what they want and skip the checkout when they’re done. Anyone shopping at the new Amazon Fresh store can utilize the cashierless technology, which connects to their Amazon account or credit card.

Once inside the store, customers can shop like normal. Anything they take off the shelf is automatically added to their virtual cart, and anything they put back on the shelf comes out of their virtual cart. At the end of their trip, customers scan their QR code or insert their payment card again to exit. Traditional shopping and checkout are also available.

Originally available only in Amazon Go convenience and small-format grocery stores, Amazon then began rolling out Just Walk Out to select Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods locations, and also licenses the technology to third-party retailers.

In addition to 19 Amazon Fresh locations in California, Amazon operates nine of the high-tech grocery stores in Illinois, five each in Washington state (including one designed to be zero net carbon) and Virginia, and two each in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. 

The company is also opening its latest high-tech Amazon Fresh location with Just Walk Out shopping roughly two months after introducing a new Amazon Fresh store in Arlington, Va. (the site where Amazon is currently constructing its “HQ2” second headquarters complex), and a few months after opening one in Fairfax, Va., and after opening a Just Walk Out-enabled Amazon Fresh store in Naperville, Ill.

So far in 2022, Amazon has also provided Just Walk Out at newly opened Amazon Fresh stores in Moorpark, Calif., North Riverside, Ill., and Lorton and Manassas, Va., as well as launching the autonomous checkout experience in its Whole Foods Market division at stores in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. The company plans to additionally open a “Just Walk Out”-enabled Whole Foods store in Sherman Oaks, Calif., during 2022.