First Amazon Fresh grocery store opens its doors - but good luck getting in

Ever since buying Whole Foods in 2017, Amazon has been in the grocery store business, but today, it's officially opening its first Amazon-branded grocery store. Amazon today announced that it's cutting the ribbon, so to speak, on the first Amazon Fresh grocery store, which is opening in the Woodland Hills neighborhood in Los Angeles. Even if you live in Woodland Hills, however, you might have a difficult time getting in.

That's because for the time being, only customers that Amazon invites will be able to enter the store to buy their groceries. The company is emailing out invitations, which you'll need to show in order to enter the store. Amazon says that it will be opening Amazon Fresh to everyone in the coming weeks.

Amazon Fresh will use a number of technologies that were first introduced in its smaller scale Amazon Go stores. Amazon Dash Cart, for instance, uses "computer vision algorithms and sensor fusion," to identify which items you're putting in your cart, which means that when it's time to make your purchases and leave, you simply need to walk through the Dash Cart lane with no real checkout process to speak of.

You'll also be able to use Alexa shopping lists when you enter the store, with Alexa guiding you to where items on your list are located. Amazon Fresh will offer national brands alongside meat, seafood, produce, and meals that are prepared in-store every day. Amazon says that it will follow Whole Foods' COVID-19 practices, which includes taking temperatures of staff daily, requiring masks for both staff and visitors, and operating at 50% capacity.

So, Amazon's small-scale grocery experiments are going full-scale with the launch of this grocery store today. The store offers same-day delivery and pickup for Prime users, so if you live in the Woodland Hills area, check your email for an invite to visit the store.