Amazon Plans to License Cashierless Tech to Other Retailers

Stores can ditch the checkout line by using Amazon's technology, and customers won't even need Amazon accounts.

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Need to Know 

  • Amazon is launching a new business line selling its “Just Walk Out” cashierless technology to other retailers. 
  • “Just Walk Out” enables shoppers to enter by swiping a credit card, after which a series of cameras, sensors, computer vision techniques, and deep learning tracks items customers put into their shopping carts. When finished, they leave the store without waiting in line to pay.
  • In addition to the technology itself, Amazon will provide retailers with camera hardware, sensor technology, and 24/7 email and phone support.  
  • Stores enabled with the cashierless technology will have no affiliation to Amazon Go or access to its products.
  • “Just Walk Out” technology is currently being used by Amazon in its own Amazon Go stores as well as its newly launched Amazon Go grocery store.

Analysis

Amazon knows that customer convenience is key and is willing to help retailers up their own convenience factor—for a price. 

Starting today, Amazon is selling its successful “Just Walk Out” cashierless technology to smaller retailers looking to increase store efficiencies and reduce the need for traditional cashier interactions. According to a new website promoting the service, “Just Walk Out” technology has operated with high reliability and accuracy for years in Amazon Go stores—and has arguably made shopping without checkout lines mainstream. 

“We built ‘Just Walk Out’ technology leveraging the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning. Since launching Amazon Go years ago, many retailers have expressed an interest in offering similar checkout-free shopping experiences to their customers,” Amazon says on its “Just Walk Out” Site. 

The idea is a good one, as the technology needed to develop a cashierless checkout system is robust, and not every retailer has access to a dedicated innovation team full of engineers and data scientists.

Stores equipped with the technology would not require specific mobile apps and customers would not need to have Amazon accounts to make purchases.

To enter a “Just Walk Out” store, customers simply swipe a credit card, and once inside a series of cameras, sensors, computer vision techniques, and deep learning tracks items customers put into their shopping carts, adding them to a virtual shopping cart. Should a customer change their mind on an item, placing it back on a shelf, the smart software detects the change and removes the returned item from the virtual basket. Once the shopping is complete, the customer simply walks out of the store.

Walmart has also ditched cashiers in its new Neighbourhood Market store. The Florida store features online grocery pickup, same-day grocery delivery, expanded checkout options, and a ‘check out with me’ feature—all aimed at saving customers time. 

Corner-store giant 7-Eleven also begun testing out a cashierless store concept with its employees in its Irving, Texas headquarters. The 7-Eleven concept uses a combination of proprietary algorithms and predictive technology built into the system.  

Amazon reports that there are “several” signed deals with retailers to roll out their tech, but would not specify who.

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