Amazon’s new offering, called “Just Walk Out” technology, is based on the tech used in its Go stores, where consumers can leave without physically checking out because cameras and sensors track them so they can be charged automatically when they exit.
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The e-tailer claims the installation process can be as short as a few weeks and says it can integrate the technology into new store builds and existing locations. Amazon has multiple signed deals with clients already, per Reuters, and while the structure of these agreements is unknown, previous reports suggest it might take a percentage of stores’ sales or charge both installation and monthly fees.
Amazon has tweaked its Just Walk Out technology to make it more appealing to third-party retailers. With the Just Walk Out offering, consumers use a credit card to identify themselves when they enter rather than an app that’s connected to an Amazon account, like Go stores do.
This allows consumers to shop without preparing by downloading and setting up an app or having an Amazon account. And consumers can enter their email at an in-store kiosk to receive a receipt for their visit — and if they use the same card at other Just Walk Out-enabled stores, they’ll automatically have receipts sent to that email, creating a consistent experience.
Amazon has made these changes to make its technology, which is now able to scale to at least 10,400-square-foot stores, more appealing to merchants so they might be willing to adopt the offering. If they do, the move will allow Amazon to establish itself as the leading provider of autonomous checkout technology as the space develops.
Despite these advancements, Amazon isn’t guaranteed to dominate as an autonomous checkout technology provider:
- It may have trouble getting merchants to use its tech because of its lack of retrofitting experience and concerns about competition. So far, Amazon has only deployed its technology at stores that were built with it in mind, and outfitting an existing store presents new challenges, like integrating with how stores restock shelves and handle planograms, Standard Cognition CEO Jordan Fisher told Business Insider Intelligence. Additionally, Amazon, which is expected to record 38.7% of US retail e-commerce sales in 2020, per eMarketer, competes directly with many merchants. These circumstances may make retailers wary of working with Amazon, slowing the spread of its Just Walk Out tech.
- Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology creates friction that other providers can remove to offer retailers a better shopping experience. The Just Walk Out experience allows consumers to bypass physical checkout, but it requires consumers to present a credit card when they enter a store. This means consumers still need to actively present payment information, and it pushes consumers to use the technology even if they don’t want to because there may be turnstiles blocking their entrance. This opens the door for competing autonomous checkout technology providers like AiFi, Grabango, Standard Cognition, Trigo, and Zippin, because if they successfully remove these pain points they may be able to convince merchants to work with them instead.
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