Although Amazon has recently announced the closure of several of its high-tech real retail locations, some of the technology it created for those locations is finding a new home.

Panera will now be the first eatery to implement Amazon’s palm reading payment and loyalty system, known as Amazon One, in its own stores, enabling its customers to both pay and access the chain’s loyalty program, the online retailer announced today.

In Panera’s hometown of St. Louis, two cafes currently use the Amazon One system, but Amazon says more sites will get the system in the coming months. According to Panera, this will initially include new cafes in the St. Louis region and other markets in Seattle. It anticipates having 10 to 20 locations operating with the technology by year’s end.

The Amazon One system uses computer vision to generate a distinct palm print for each user, which Amazon then links to a credit card the user inserts at the sign-up kiosk during initial setup. The customer’s Amazon One personal information is linked to it if they also have an Amazon account. When the plan signatures are generated, the palm print images are encrypted and protected in the cloud.

Amazon had claimed that palm prints were a more private form of biometric authentication than other techniques when it first launched in 2020 because you couldn’t tell someone’s identity just by looking at their palm print. Of course, Amazon was also matching palm images to customer accounts and payment cards and storing those as well, creating a database of consumer data along with biometrics. The use of this method would then allow for the gradual introduction of highly customized offers and suggestions.

Due to the heightened interest in contactless payments, the biometric payment system was launched at the same time as the pandemic. Although some customers wore gloves while purchasing, which would have to be removed, and others might have mistakenly pressed their hands to the palm reader, spreading germs, there was some worry that the system wouldn’t work in the pandemic period.

A number of Amazon’s own retail sites, including its Amazon Go convenience stores, Amazon Go Grocery, Amazon Books, and Amazon 4-star stores, started to accept the system in 2021. Soon after, American lawmakers contacted Amazon to ask what its intentions were for such a massive accumulation of biometric data from palm prints.

Several Whole Foods stores received Amazon One last year as part of an expansion by Amazon. Additionally, the system has been installed in a number of arenas and airports.

In order to allow quick payments and other features, Panera will now implement the system in its stores. Meal suggestions are also provided to customers who connect their MyPanera account to Amazon One based on previous orders and preferences. In the interim, Panera staff will be able to personally welcome customers, inform them of their available rewards, reorder their favorite items, or accept new orders. The customer would scan their palm once more to pay after the purchasing process is complete.

In addition to this information, Amazon is introducing two new Amazon One features: loyalty linking and online pre-enrollment. If a customer had previously signed up for Amazon One at another location, they could now simply connect their MyPanera account to their Amazon One ID online or in-store to make use of the system there as well. Additionally, new clients can now pre-enroll online to begin the procedure before they visit the shop. Then, using the code they were given during pre-enrollment, they would be able to finish the enlistment by scanning their palm at the shop.

George Hanson, SVP and Chief Digital Officer at Panera, wrote in an email to TechCrunch, “At Panera, we’ve always grounded ourselves in the warmth we share for our guests and our associates, and we look at technology to find ways to better that experience.” “Fasting is a process, and the more we can speed up the process the and…, phrase that, and enjoy the journey through this, paraphrase that, and enjoy the journey through. and this process and this and this process and this. We are interested in working with Amazon because of their network and size, the speaker added.

Hanson added that the business would ideally spread out the technology to all 2,113 of its locations, but that this expansion is still in its early stages.

But this is probably not just about wanting to be handy and tech-forward. With the help of payment technology, loyalty programs, and unique identifiers, Panera was better able to monitor individual customers and learn about their preferences, routines, and interests in order to more effectively target them with offers and suggestions. When a customer decides to pay with a more privacy-focused payment technology like Apple Pay, for example, it does not have access to those data.


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