Will rival retailers buy Amazon’s ‘Just Walk Out’ technology?
Amazon.com announced yesterday that it has begun selling the technology behind its Amazon Go and Amazon Go Grocery concepts to other retailers.
As it has done in the past, Amazon is looking to monetize internally-developed technology by selling it to outside parties. The retailing and tech giant said that it has already signed “several” deals to date. It declined to name the buyers. Reports last October said Amazon was in talks with OTG’s CIBO Express stores about utilizing its “Just Walk Out” technology at airports and also with Cineworld’s Regal cinemas.
The development of the Go store concepts was intended to eliminate the single biggest pain point for customers at retail — the checkout line. The data the retailer acquires is seen as a major benefit, giving Amazon and others who deploy it the kind of consumer insights typically associated with online shopping.
Dilip Kumar, vice president, Amazon Physical Retail, told Reuters that his company expects the success of its tech with other retailers to be determined by the customers who shop in those stores.
“This has pretty broad applicability across store sizes, across industries, because it fundamentally tackles a problem of how do you get convenience in physical locations, especially when people are hard-pressed for time,” he said.
Mr. Kumar addressed the elephant in the room in his interview with Reuters. He said that Amazon will not use data collected at other retailers for its own purposes.
The retailer has launched a webpage for its new offer that touts the “effortless” shopping experience it provides. The page reads: “In Just Walk Out-enabled stores, shoppers enter the store using a credit card. They don’t need to download an app or create an Amazon account. Our Just Walk Out technology detects what products shoppers take from or return to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When done shopping, they just walk out and their credit card will be charged.”
Critics of Amazon’s technology have, in the past, suggested that it comes with a number of limitations, including the costs and structural challenges related to placing video cameras and other hardware in store ceilings. Many question the viability of retrofitting stores with the Just Walk Out technology, meaning that its use may be limited to locations where it could be incorporated at the outset.
- Bringing Just Walk Out shopping to your stores – Just Walk Out technology by Amazon
- Amazon launches business selling automated checkout to retailers – Reuters
- Amazon is selling its futuristic cashierless technology to other stores – Vox/Recode
- Amazon is now selling its cashierless technology to other retailers – TechCrunch
- Should Amazon rent out its Just Walk Out tech? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will other retailers buy Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology? What do you see as the potential for the technology inside and out of Amazon-owned properties?