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Amazon Fresh "Just Walk Out" Relies On India's Workforce: Why The Switch To Dash Carts?

The "Just Walk Out" system, which allowed shoppers to pick up items and exit the store without the need for cash registers, will be replaced by Amazon Dash Carts. These smart carts provide customers with a new level of control over their shopping experience, allowing them to scan items and view real-time updates on their purchases.

Amazon's 'Just Walk Out' store Photo: X

Amazon has unveiled plans to phase out its revolutionary "Just Walk Out" technology from Amazon Fresh stores. This strategic decision, announced on Tuesday, reflects Amazon's ongoing commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction, as the company continues to refine its offerings to meet evolving consumer preferences.

The "Just Walk Out" system, lauded for its seamless checkout experience that allowed shoppers to simply pick up items and exit the store without the need for traditional cash registers, will be replaced by Amazon Dash Carts. These innovative smart carts empower customers with a new level of control over their shopping experience, enabling them to scan items as they shop and view real-time updates on their purchases. The transition comes in response to valuable feedback from customers, who expressed a desire for additional features such as the ability to easily locate products, access exclusive deals, and track their spending while navigating the aisles of Amazon Fresh stores.

While this transition will impact over 40 Amazon Fresh locations across the United States, it is important to note that Amazon Go stores and select third-party retailers will continue to offer the original "Just Walk Out" experience. Of the affected Amazon Fresh stores, 27 currently utilize the "Just Walk Out" technology, while the remaining stores have already integrated Dash Carts into their operations.

Challenges with "Just Walk Out" technology

While the "Just Walk Out" technology garnered praise for its speedy checkout process, it wasn't without limitations. Customer feedback revealed a desire for functionalities beyond simply grabbing items and leaving. Here are some key shortcomings of "Just Walk Out":

Difficulty Finding Products:  Large stores can be overwhelming, and navigating them to locate specific items can be time-consuming. "Just Walk Out" lacked features to help shoppers find what they need quickly, potentially leading to frustration and wasted time.

Limited Access to Deals:  Customers enjoy in-store promotions and special offers.  "Just Walk Out" didn't offer a way for shoppers to access real-time deals or discounts while browsing the aisles. This meant they might miss out on potential savings.

Lack of Spending Visibility: Keeping track of running totals during a shopping trip is crucial for budget-conscious consumers. "Just Walk Out" didn't provide a way for customers to monitor their spending as they added items, making it difficult to stay within budget constraints. 

Dash Carts: Enhanced Control and Convenience

Amazon's Dash Carts address these shortcomings by offering a solution that empowers shoppers and provides the missing features.  We'll explore the key features of Dash Carts in the next section.

The introduction of Amazon Dash Carts represents a leap forward in shopping convenience, leveraging advanced technologies such as computer vision and sensor fusion to streamline the checkout process. Customers can initiate their shopping journey by scanning the QR code on their Amazon app, seamlessly adding items to their cart as they peruse the aisles. At checkout, there's no need to wait in line – customers can proceed directly through the designated Dash Cart lane and exit the store with ease, ushering in a new era of frictionless shopping.

The future of "Just Walk Out" technology

The decision to remove "Just Walk Out" technology from Amazon Fresh stores might seem like a retreat from complete automation. However, a closer look reveals a more nuanced strategy. Here's why:

Limited Rollback:  While exiting Amazon Fresh, "Just Walk Out" persists in Amazon Go stores and select third-party retailers. This suggests Amazon isn't abandoning the concept altogether. It might be a strategic decision to refine the technology for specific environments. Perhaps Amazon Fresh stores, with their wider product selection and larger footprints, presented challenges that "Just Walk Out" wasn't fully optimized for yet.

A Learning Experience:  The human element exposed in "Just Walk Out" operations, with moderators reviewing transactions and refining AI, highlights the technology's current limitations.  This knowledge allows Amazon to focus on further developing its AI algorithms to minimize reliance on manual intervention.  A more robust AI system could potentially address some of the limitations faced by "Just Walk Out" in Amazon Fresh, paving the way for its future reintroduction.

The role of Indian workers in 'Just Walk Out' technology

Amazon's Just Walk Out technology, heralded for its seamless shopping experience, hides a significant human component: approximately 1,000 workers based in India who meticulously review customers' actions within its stores. Although Amazon presents Just Walk Out as a feat of computer vision, a recent report by The Information reveals its dependence on human intervention. Allegedly, around 700 out of every 1,000 Just Walk Out transactions undergo scrutiny by the Indian team, far exceeding Amazon's internal target of just 50 manual checks per 1,000 sales.

Responding to these claims, an Amazon spokesperson contested the extent of human involvement, asserting that the Indian team primarily aids in training the technology rather than actively reviewing transactions. However, revelations about the reliance on manual checks coincide with Amazon's decision to replace Just Walk Out with Dash Carts at its Amazon Fresh stores. While the Dash Carts offer a similar checkout-free experience, they also provide additional features such as real-time receipt viewing and product discovery, addressing customer feedback.

Amazon's commitment to Innovation in Retail

This shift towards Dash Carts underscores Amazon's commitment to continuous improvement and customer-centricity. By prioritizing customer feedback, Amazon identified limitations in "Just Walk Out" and developed Dash Carts to address those needs. This adaptability showcases Amazon's dedication to evolving its offerings and staying at the forefront of retail innovation.


The company isn't simply chasing automation for its own sake.  Amazon strives to use technology to enhance the shopping experience, offering convenience and efficiency while catering to customer preferences.  By adapting to the ever-changing needs of consumers in a digital age, Amazon is shaping the future of grocery shopping.

The success of Just Walk Out has inspired startups to develop similar solutions, with trials conducted in various retail environments, including Aldi and Dollar General. Despite its reliance on human oversight, Just Walk Out represents a significant innovation in retail technology, redefining the shopping experience for customers worldwide.