Alexa goes to Washington (Franconia, actually): Amazon’s first East Coast grocery store
The first East Coast Amazon Fresh grocery store is open in Franconia, Virginia.
“We’re so happy; it’s been a long time coming,” said employee Christopher Allison, whose role involves helping customers find what they need, including through in-store technology.
Some shoppers, wheeling old-school carts, held printed coupons as they looked for specials in the fresh produce section.
The Amazon Dash Cart scans items, and interacts with a customer’s Amazon account for payment.
Others entering the store stopped for a brief tutorial on the company’s Dash Cart.
“It’s amazing new technology that brings a nice, seamless approach to customer service and shopping,” Allison said.
In other words, the Dash Cart is a mobile device — literally a computer on wheels.
“It allows Amazon account or Amazon Prime holders to check in, and shop in a virtual space,” Allison said.
Some shoppers in Amazon Fresh prefer old-school carts and printed coupons.
Let’s say a 60s-ish journalist, moderately tech-savvy, needed some eggs.
“You can connect with your Alexa app, and it will create a shopping list for you. Then, once you pull up your QR code with your Amazon app, your shopping list on Alexa will pop up, and will help guide you exactly where those eggs are in the store,” Allison said.
“And, once you finish your shopping your transaction will be handled without having to actually go and see a cashier,” he said, reassuringly.
But wait a minute — I didn’t find my eggs yet.
Alexa — Amazon’s virtual assistant — is on standby to help with the shopping experience.
Fearing my lack of understanding about Alexa might mean I’d actually have to look for the eggs myself, I desperately tried to grasp how she would come to the rescue. Chris and another worker patiently talked me down.
WTOP's Neal Augenstein tries to grasp Alexa
A variety of mobile devices on sale at Amazon Fresh can increase the interconnection between all aspects of the online giant.
As the Internet of Things — basically, all the “smart” things with embedded sensors and software that connect and share data — continues to expand, the Amazon Fresh store unsurprisingly has a display of Amazon devices.
Kindle and Fire tablets, as well as Echo speakers, can provide a variety of ways to let Alexa know that you need to pick up some groceries on the way home.
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