Tech behind Amazon Go now available to any retailer

Amazon is licensing out its Just Walk Out technology to allow other retailers to utilise the same tech powering its Amazon Go stores.

The offer utilises the same types of technology used in self-driving cars – computer vision, sensor functions and deep learning – to determine when customers take a product from a shelf and charges them for whatever they leave the store with. 

“Since launching Amazon Go years ago, many retailers have expressed an interest in offering similar checkout-free shopping experiences to their customers,” Amazon wrote on it’s Just Walk Out website. 

“We’re excited to now offer the ability for retailers to leverage Just Walk Out technology from Amazon in their stores.”

When contacted by Inside Retail, Amazon Australia didn’t confirm if the offer would be available locally. 

Bloomberg reported in late 2019 that the business would be licensing out its Go technology in 2020, stating that at the time Amazon hadn’t settled on a licensing model. Amazon vice president of physical retail and technology Dilip Kumar declined to confirm to Reuters what the model would be earlier this week.

The General Store partner and chief strategy officer Danny Lattouf told Inside Retail it was a smart move from the global marketplace should consumers adopt this kind of store experience.

“The gain here is ultimately monopolising the infrastructure and services that support this experience – let alone the data that comes with it,” Lattouf said.

“It feels like a merging of two business divisions for Amazon, taking a highly successful AWS business model and pairing it with retail for their customers – in this case, retailers.

“It could also be quite strategic as a defensive move to Chinese counterparts who are implementing similar technology.”

According to the website, installation of the Just Walk Out technology will take as little as a few weeks, and can be done while a store is under construction or as an addition to an existing store.

Though Amazon launched the first Go store in 2018, other retailers locally and internationally have since trialled their own versions of a smart-camera led store model. 

Woolworths launched its first Scan&Go concept store in Double Bay in September, 2018, and has since expanded the premise out to at least five other stores.

Convenience chain 7-Eleven also launched a checkout-free trial store in 2019, with customers only able to pay via the 7-Eleven mobile app. Customers scan the barcode of what they wish to purchase, pay using the app, and exit the store.

And it isn’t only large-scale retailers trying their hand at checkout-free locations, with NSW-based The Party People trialing app-based payments in its pop-up stores across Sydney and Melbourne. 

However, the experiences delivered by these local offers don’t come close to replicating the Just Walk Out technology, according to Lattouf.

“In the examples we’re seeing here the retailer is forcing the customer to do all the work, I personally see it as serving the retailer more than it does the customer,” Lattouf said.

“I think we [Australians] will consciously think we’re not ready for it, but the moment you experience it you’ll never want to wait in a retail queue ever again.”

This story originally appeared on sister site Inside Retail Australia.

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