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Amazon Opens First Ever Hospital-Located ‘Just Walk Out’ Store

Amazon Opens First Ever Hospital-Located ‘Just Walk Out’ Store
30 November 2023 | Updated 24 May 2024

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has opened the world’s first checkout-free store using Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology in a healthcare location.

The store will be open 24/7 (apart from closing for a few hours on Sunday evening for system updates) allowing patients, visitors and staff access to the retail offer.

Part of the new two-storey Main Entrance and Admin Hub under construction at the Princess Royal Hospital, the Market Express store was launched in partnership with One Retail and noviniti. The main entrance development is intended to transform the “front door” of the hospital. 

Louise Barnett, Chief Executive at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said: “We welcome this new partnership and are proud to be part of such an exciting new venture. We have listened to our patients, visitors and colleagues, who asked us to enhance our existing food and retail offer, including in the evenings. It has been positive to see so many people benefitting from the new services.


How Do Checkout-Free Stores Work?


Visitors enter the store using a credit card, debit card or mobile wallet to enter. Using generative AI, the technology detects what the shopper takes from or returns to shelves and creates a virtual shopping session. The customer can then leave without having to queue to pay for items, as the card used when entering the shop is charged for items taken.

Whilst it provides a fast and “frictionless” shopping experience, some have expressed concern over how this may affect certain groups of society. According to a report by Age UK on the use of self-checkouts, some people dislike self-service tills and prefer the social interaction of speaking to a cashier. Many find the machines difficult to use, causing the transaction to be a stressful experience. 

Campaigner Pat McCarthy is petitioning supermarket chain Tesco to prioritise more staffed checkouts, taking into consideration that people with manual dexterity issues or lifting problems can find them difficult to use. She also notes that such machines penalise people who only have access to cash, such as carers shopping for their clients.

Picture: a photograph of the exterior of the new store, showing the shop front. Image Credit: Compass Group

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 30 November 2023


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