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Amazon is ready to open the doors to its latest physical retail experiment as it debuts the company’s first Amazon Fresh grocery store.

The Woodland Hills, Calif. location is similar to a traditional full-service grocery store but with some added technology, including smart grocery carts and Amazon Echo devices that help shoppers navigate aisles.

Amazon unveiled the smart grocery cart, also known as Dash Cart, last month. It uses cameras, sensors and a scale to automatically detect and log items on a digital display behind the handle. The technology makes it possible for shoppers to leave the store without going through a traditional checkout line.

Shoppers who use the Dash Carts will scan a QR code in the Amazon app to log in to the cart before they begin. The system will automatically charge them using the stored card in their Amazon account when they exit through a special “Dash Cart Lane.” They’ll get a receipt via email after they leave.

The end result is similar to the Amazon Go grocery and convenience stores, without the elaborate technical infrastructure of those stores. The Dash Cart works on its own, requiring no sensors in the shelves or specialized cameras overhead.

Amazon’s Dash Cart.

The 35,000 square-foot Amazon Fresh store offers free same-day grocery pickup or delivery for Prime members, as well as a station for package pickups and returns that don’t require a box or labels.

Amazon is promising “consistently low prices” at the store with products from national brands as well as its Whole Foods private label. It is selling a Fresh brand natural whole chicken for $0.99 per pound and a 3-pound bag of onions for $1.69. There is a prepared foods section with food made fresh each day, including whole pizzas that can be ordered ahead of time via the Amazon app.

Customers can get 5% off when they use their Amazon Prime credit card; the offer is also available at Whole Foods.

Amazon is following the same COVID-19 safety measures used at Whole Foods for the new Amazon Fresh store, including daily temperature checks for employees, required face coverings for customers, and operating at 50% capacity.

The store will open to invited customers before the public can shop in the coming weeks. It was previously being used to fulfill delivery orders.

Amazon will open more Amazon Fresh stores in California and Illinois but hasn’t announced further details.

Amazon continues to invest heavily in both physical and online grocery after acquiring Whole Foods for nearly $14 billion in 2017. The company saw online grocery sales triple year-over-year during the second quarter of this year as more customers get their groceries delivered versus going to a physical store amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In October, Amazon made grocery delivery a built-in benefit of Prime membership — no longer charging an extra $15 per month, or $180 per year, for Amazon Fresh delivery on top of the $119 annual Prime fee.

Amazon’s online grocery arm also includes its AmazonFresh Pickup service. The company also offers BOPIS (Buy Online PIckup in Store) at Whole Foods.

Groceries are an estimated $678 billion U.S. market that is increasingly going digital. Research firm eMarketer estimates that U.S. food and beverage e-commerce sales will grow 23.4% to more than $32 billion this year, making it “both the fastest-growing and least penetrated ecommerce category.” Those projections came before the COVID-19 crisis.

Earlier this year Amazon debuted Amazon Go Grocery, a larger version of its cashier-less Amazon Go stores that first opened two years ago. The company is now selling the technology used inside Amazon Go to other businesses.

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