Amazon's Checkout-Free System Coming to Other Retailers

The "Just Walk Out" system will work a lot like Amazon Go stores

Why It Matters

Amazon's automated retail system has already proven successful enough that it's opened two dozen locations and one full-sized grocery store. Offering it to third-party retailers could change the face of modern brick-and-mortar retail shopping.

Customers entering an Amazon Go store
Amazon Go Store.  Getty Images

Amazon is ready to spread its register- and mostly human-free retail system to third-party retailers. According to Reuters, the company will announce its new "Just Walk Out technology by Amazon," and may shortly thereafter reveal its first set of third-party retail partners.

Remind me what Amazon Go is again. Amazon Go is a four-year-old next-gen retail checkout system that lets consumers walk into a store, pick up what they need, and walk out. No checkout, swiping credit cards, or interacting with humans. The scanning technology reads their Amazon app on their phone as they enter, beacons track them in the store, sensors keep track of what they've grabbed, and they're automatically charged for it all when they leave the store.

This is not exactly like Go. Just Walk Out technology will not rely on an Amazon app and smartphone for tracking entry. According to Reuters, which spoke to Amazon's VP of Physical Retail Technology Dilip Kumar, the system will let customers scan their credit cards as they enter. "This has pretty broad applicability across store sizes, across industries," Kumar told Reuters, "because it fundamentally tackles a problem of how do you get convenience in physical locations, especially when people are hard-pressed for time.”

By the Numbers

  • Number of Amazon Go shops: 25
  • Number of retail establishments in the U.S.: 3.7 million
  • Amount U.S. Consumers spent at brick and mortar retail in 2017: $3043 Billion

Still no registers. Checkout will resemble the Go system, but customers might walk through turnstiles, which will register their exit, then charge their cards.

Will Just Walk Out be in my store? The system will require either retrofitting of existing stores (turnstiles, scanners, sensors) or the construction of new stores. Amazon didn't reveal any of their retail partners or exactly how any of them will enable the service.

What's in it for Amazon? The online retail giant will get an undisclosed license fee for the system and may gain additional funds for the system's use of their AWS cloud service for back-end data management.

Bottom Line: Before there were price scanners, checkout clerks used to enter prices and codes for every single product. The switch to scanners was unimaginable, as was self-checkout. Amazon may not be the company to spur a checkout-free revolution, but it's coming, one way or another.

Via: Reuters

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