Amazon lays off hundreds of workers in its physical store sales and marketing and technology teams

Amazon Web Services (AWS) executives reported that the cuts are due to the need to "prepare the organization for the future" and indicated that they will continue to hire staff, but in other areas of the company.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) executives reported in an internal email that hundreds of workers will be laid off from their Global Sales, Marketing and Services Department and their Physical Store Technology team.

The company claimed that the cuts, which will take place in training, certification, and sales operations positions, are a result of a new initiative to shift away from its traditional training operations to digital training and training programs run by external partners. Senior Vice President of Amazon Web Services Matt Garman stated:

We do not make these decisions lightly and I know that change can be difficult (...) We operate in an incredibly fast-moving industry, and it is important that we stay agile as an organization (...) The changes we are making are preparing the organization for the future, aligning with our strategy and priorities, and reducing duplication and inefficiency. I recognize the effect this has on every individual impacted. 

AWS managers indicated that they will continue hiring personnel, but in other areas of the company. The AWS team's job is to develop the technology used for Amazon's physical retail stores.

Layoff conditions, the company is doing away with its "Just Walk Out" technology

The company reported that workers will receive their salary and other benefits for at least two months. They will also be provided with support for finding employment and access to health benefits. In addition, they will be compensated for the layoffs.

At Voz Media, we reported that Amazon also announced that it is taking a step back from one of its most ambitious innovations. The e-commerce giant is reportedly phasing out Just Walk Out technology from its Amazon Fresh stores, which allowed customers to skip the traditional checkout process. Instead, Amazon is choosing to replace it with a new shopping method.

Just Walk Out technology, which was introduced in 2016, allowed people to scan a card when entering the store. An advanced system of cameras and sensors then tracked the products people took off shelves and out of stores and automatically charged them to the card they had scanned at the beginning.

However, there was a team of more than 1,000 people in India working behind the scenes. They viewed and tagged videos to ensure payments were being made correctly. In fact, according to a report by The Information, 700 of every 1,000 sales of Just Walk Out required human reviewers as of 2022.

The company saw a decline in profitability from mid-2022 to mid-2023. It recovered (with 29% and 38% increases in operating profits) in the final quarter of last year.