Amazon has rolled out contactless tech to 200 locations including Panera cafes


FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, November 5, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

(Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc's palm-scanning or cashier-less checkout technology is in more than 200 establishments in and outside the company, a vice president told Reuters.

The e-commerce and cloud-computing giant is widening deployment of its contactless technology with existing customers, Vice President Dilip Kumar said in an interview.

Amazon declined to provide growth figures, but in June 2022 the company said more than 69 locations in the U.S. and UK had such technology.

It is also making new deals. On Wednesday the U.S. cafe chain Panera Bread unveiled Amazon One devices, which let customers scan their palms to pay, for two locations in greater St. Louis. Kumar said the deployment would expand to 10 to 20 Panera cafes in coming months.

A palm swipe would also let Panera pull up restaurant goers' rewards accounts and order histories, the companies said.

Kumar declined to state the deal's value but described the business model as selling software and devices as a service.

The expansion reflected demand for Amazon's contactless technology despite macroeconomic headwinds, he said. More than 50 of the installations were with the likes of independent retailers, stadiums and university customers, and the rest were in Whole Foods and other Amazon stores, he added.

"When times are lean," he said, "retention of your existing customers and to be able to win customers becomes even more important."

Amazon's own effort at a leaner operation led it to say this week it would eliminate 9,000 more jobs, totaling 27,000 cuts since November. Some of those jobs are being cut at Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud-computing unit of which Kumar is a part.

Kumar said he could not speculate on whether still more layoffs would follow. Nearly 150,000 employees at tech companies have faced cuts this year alone, according to industry tracker Layoffs.fyi.

"For most people who are at Amazon right now, they've actually never been through anything like this," he said. "It wasn't as bad" for tech companies in the 2008 financial crisis. The cuts partly reflected "a tremendous amount of hiring" through the pandemic, he said.

Kumar said layoffs portended "no strategy shift" for AWS, which sells physical retail technologies and other enterprise applications. He expected that business to far outlast present economic turbulence.

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