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Load Cells help Amazon unveil its first till-free grocery store in the UK

Doing the weekly grocery shop has never looked more high-tech, following the unveiling of Amazon’s first till-free store in London.

This is the world's largest online retailer’s first grocery store outside of the U.S., which perhaps gives an indication that they look set to be on a mission to dominate the grocery category too.

Amazon Fresh is located in Ealing, London and will sell prepared meals, a selection of groceries, including the ‘by Amazon’ range, and a counter for collecting and returning online orders in the 2,500 square feet compact store.

The store has adopted the ‘Just Walk Out’ technology, which means all customers need to do is scan a smartphone QR code to open the store’s gates and their purchases will then be tailed using ceiling cameras and shelf weight sensors. Within these sensors lies a hidden mechanism called a load cell.

Amazon’s convenient, smooth-running shopping experience is made possible thanks to this clever mechanism.

A load cell is a transducer which converts force into a measurable electrical output, essentially measuring weight.

Load cells are generally not a very well known mechanism; however, they are an integral part of items we use in everyday life, such as retail weighing scales and self-serve check-outs, airport baggage check-in scales and heavy goods vehicle weighbridges. Load cells help make system such as ‘Just Walk Out’ technology, a reality. The load cells enable the shelf weight sensors to register when a shopper has put an item back on the shelf, if they change their mind, for instance. This helps to keep track of the produce the consumer is purchasing. Once the produce is scanned, items are added to a virtual cart, bypassing the checkout as there is no requirement for a traditional point of sale terminal.

The shopper's on-file credit card is billed after they leave the shop and a receipt is emailed, meaning they can walk out of the store without waiting to pay.

Amazon says that the new store, "will offer customers everything they’d want from their local neighbourhood grocery store with an experience that allows shoppers to simply take what they want and just walk out."/

Amazon has been trialing the system since 2016, opening its first touch-free store in 2018, with over 25 stores across the US.

Here at TyTek Industries HQ, we have vast experience in manufacturing load cells. If you’re looking for a load cell manufacturer or want to understand more about the use of load cells take a ‘load off’ and call us today.


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