Amazon is Launching Pay-by-Palm at Whole Foods Stores
Amazon.com is bringing its palm-scanning payment system to Whole Foods stores, CNBC reported. The service, Amazon One, will now be offered at a Whole Foods store in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, the first of many planned rollouts at other locations.
Amazon One originally debuted in September, and is already available at a dozen Amazon physical stores. It allows customers to purchase items by placing their palm over a scanning device. For customers who have never used Amazon One before, they have to insert a credit card at the kiosk to link with their palm print. After linking a credit card one time, shoppers can simply pay by holding their hand over the scanning device for every purchase then on.
The pay-by-palm technology is different than Amazon's Just Walk Out technology, which allows shoppers to grab items and walk out of the store without going through a traditional checkout line. According to CNBC, the two technologies can work together and the company offers both options at cashierless Amazon Go stores.
Eventually, Amazon hopes to sell the palm-scanning technology to other retailers and large corporations.
Total Retail's Take: The pay-by-palm technology is an interesting concept and a new development in contactless payment, which has seen consumer demand for skyrocket during the pandemic. However, when new payment technologies are released, it often brings up security questions. Customers may be concerned about handing over their biometric data to Amazon, for example. Will they look past that for the convenience of paying by palm? CNBC reported that Amazon trusts that its system is secure and that palm-scanning is more secure than other alternatives, such as facial recognition. Another aspect to consider is how this technology will affect Amazon and Whole Food employees, since this is a cashierless option. Will it result in the phasing out of some in-store jobs? With a limited pilot program in place, we should get a better understanding for Amazon's plans for pay-by-palm technology, as well as consumers' appetite for it, in the next several months. Then we should have some more answers.
Ashley Chiaradio is the Senior Content Strategist at Total Retail. Ashley has been creating content for more than 7 years, and provides a unique insight in covering the retail industry having worked directly for retailers in the past. She’s passionate about profiling women leadership in the space.