Amazon opened its new grocery concept, Amazon Fresh, in Woodland Hills, California.

The store, which is located in Woodland Hills, California, was initially only accessible to a few select customers.

Eric Wein, a resident in the area, was one of the first people invited inside.

“It was like the Willy Wonka golden ticket,” he said of getting an invitation to the store, which has generated considerable buzz around Amazon’s future grocery plans.

The store, called Amazon Fresh, looks like a cross between a discount grocer, a traditional supermarket, and a Whole Foods store. It carries national brands such as Coca-Cola and Frito-Lay, as well as Whole Foods’ private-label 365 brand.

It also sells general merchandise, such as air fryers and Instant Pots, and features a display table with Amazon tablets and smart speakers.

Amazon said it plans to open additional Fresh stores in California (North Hollywood, Northridge, and Irvine) and Illinois (Naperville, Schaumburg, and Oak Lawn). The company declined to comment on when those stores would open.

Here’s what Wein saw during his visit to the Woodland Hills store.

Several lanes outside the store are devoted to parking for curbside pickup and Amazon Flex drivers, who deliver Amazon Prime orders to customers. Amazon Fresh store

At the entrance inside the store, a kiosk invites customers to try Amazon’s new smart shopping cart, called the Dash Cart. Amazon Fresh store

The cart is equipped with technology that recognizes what shoppers drop inside the basket and allows them to check out without visiting a cash register. Amazon Fresh store

The cart reads barcodes and can also weigh loose fresh produce, such as peaches or apples. Amazon Fresh store

To start using the cart, shoppers must scan a QR code on their phones. Amazon Fresh store

Then the cart links to the shopper’s Amazon account, and it can pull up their Alexa shopping list and tell them where items are. Amazon Fresh store

Wein said the “main attraction” of the store is the Dash Cart. He said it was an exciting draw and convenient and easy to use. It has limitations, however, since it can hold only two grocery bags. Amazon Fresh store

In a statement to Business Insider, Amazon said it designed the Dash Cart specifically for “small-to-medium-sized quick grocery trips.”

“In our research, we’ve found that a high percentage of customers conduct multiple grocery trips per week, taking home two bags or less,” the company said. “The Dash Cart is designed to help to make those frequented small trips faster for customers. If customers would like to shop for more items, they are welcome to use a traditional shopping cart.”

The fresh-produce department carries a variety of fruits and vegetables in open bins. Amazon Fresh store

Digital tags display prices throughout the store. Amazon Fresh store

There is loose produce along one wall … Amazon Fresh store

… as well as packaged salads and herbs … Amazon Fresh store

… and prepared foods, such as soup, precut fruit, to-go salads, and “power bowls” including pesto noodles with shrimp; farro, carrots, and goat cheese; and broccoli and chicken. Amazon Fresh store

Throughout the store, there are several Alexa stations that offer to help customers find specific items. Amazon Fresh store

A number of signs also advertise Alexa’s services. Amazon Fresh store

At the Fresh Kitchen, customers can order sandwiches, sushi, and other made-to-order items. Amazon Fresh store

Shoppers have the option to preorder these items in the Amazon app so they are ready by the time they check out. Amazon Fresh store

A meat-and-seafood department offers a selection of poultry, beef, and fresh seafood. Amazon Fresh store

The store carries Whole Foods’ 365-branded products … Amazon Fresh store

… as well as national brands that shoppers would never find inside a Whole Foods store. These include Kellogg cereals … Amazon Fresh store

… Coca-Cola products … Amazon Fresh store

… and Brawny paper towels. Amazon Fresh store

In addition to food, the store carries a selection of general merchandise, including the Instant Pot, Magic Bullet blender, Ninja blender, and GoWise USA air fryer. Amazon Fresh store

A “best of Amazon” section displays cocktail shakers, cookbooks, nesting bowls, cold-brew makers, drinking glasses, lemon squeezers, USB cords, and rice makers. Amazon Fresh store

Pet food and treats, greeting cards, and office supplies are also available. Amazon Fresh store

The store also sells a wide selection of beer and wine. Amazon Fresh store

A display table advertises Amazon devices, including tablets and smart speakers. Amazon Fresh store

A customer-service counter offers package pickups and returns for items purchased through Amazon Fresh store

No boxes or labels are needed to make returns at the service counter. Amazon Fresh store

The store also features Amazon lockers. Amazon Fresh store

There are about 10 traditional checkout lanes for shoppers not using the Dash Cart. Amazon Fresh store

Dash Cart shoppers exit through a separate lane. Amazon Fresh store

Sensors charge shoppers’ Amazon accounts once they exit through the Dash Cart lane so they can grab their bags and leave without visiting a traditional cash register. Amazon Fresh store

Wein said the shopping experience overall was exciting and that he planned to return. Amazon Fresh store

“I think it will be a big success,” he said. “It’s a beautiful store and it’s very clean and technology-focused.”

He said it was exciting to see mainstream brands alongside Whole Foods-branded products and touted the customer service from Amazon employees, saying they were friendly and frequently asked if he needed help.

“Overall it was a great shopping experience,” he said. “I’ll definitely go back.”


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