Amazon.com Inc. opened its debut Amazon Fresh grocery store Thursday in the Warner Center neighborhood of Woodland Hills.
Located at 6245 Topanga Canyon Blvd., the store is the first iteration of the e-commerce giant's new grocery concept. It fills a 35,000-square-foot vacancy left in 2017 by defunct toy store Toys 'R Us. Construction began in spring 2019, starting speculation around what business would rise there, until Amazon confirmed its involvement in November.
The grocery store features cross-pollination with other tech services from Amazon. It is integrated with Amazon Dash Cart, a recently announced shopping cart that uses sensors and algorithms to identify which items shoppers pick, then charges their debit or credit card automatically when they leave the store. Also, Amazon Echo Show devices are stationed throughout the store. Shoppers can use them to ask Alexa, Amazon's virtual assistant, for help locating items. Additionally, customers can shop online and pick up their orders at the Woodland Hills grocery.
For now, the store is open only to a select group of invited customers, according to a blog post from Jeff Hebling, vice president of Amazon Fresh Stores. To shop there, patrons must bring a printed or electronic copy of the invitation.
The store will open to the general public in a few weeks, the blog said.
Coronavirus safety measures include daily temperature checks for all employees, mandatory face coverings for all employees and customers, free disposable masks and operation of the store at 50 percent capacity.
Amazon Fresh is separate from Amazon's Whole Foods and Amazon Go banners, and appeals to a different consumer base. Whole Foods specializes in health-forward foods and private-label products and Amazon Go is closer to a convenience store. Amazon Fresh is the Seattle e-tailer's take on the traditional grocery store.
Amazon has confirmed it will open additional Amazon Fresh grocery stores in North Hollywood, Northridge, Irvine and throughout Illinois in neighborhoods like Oak Lawn, Schaumburg and Naperville, all suburbs of Chicago.