Last month, Amazon launched their largest Go Grocery shop in Seattle. Amazon Go is a cashier-free retail experience which allows shoppers to scan a smartphone app as they arrive and pay for their shopping via their main Amazon accounts. Using technologies like those found in self-driving cars, such as computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning, it can detect when products are taken or returned to the shelves and will keep a track of them in your virtual cart.
Amazon have now adapted their Just Walk Out technology for other retailers to allow shoppers to enter a shop using just a credit card – no app or Amazon account will be necessary. As explained on their landing page, Just Walk Out hopes to bring a faster and more convenient checkout experience to shoppers by enabling them to ‘enter a store, grab what they want, and just go.”
Recent years have seen other large retailers installing self-service checkouts across their stores in an attempt to cut long-term costs and improve customer experience, so it is not surprising that Amazon has now started to offer this technology to their rivals in a move that one would assume will be much more lucrative than to keep it exclusively for their Amazon Go stores.
Whilst there have been concerns about a lack of job opportunities and even job losses caused by such technologies, supporters have pointed out that it would free up workers to perform more customer-facing tasks and allow businesses to focus on providing a better customer experience.
Amazon have also addressed these concerns on their own site, saying: "Retailers will still employ store associates to greet and answer shoppers' questions, stock the shelves, check IDs for the purchasing of certain goods, and more - their roles have simply shifted to focus on more valuable activities.".
Asides from the financial benefits Amazon are bound to enjoy by offering their Just Walk Out technology to other retailers, the move also opens up avenues for them to collect more data on consumer habits beyond its own stores. Although (at the moment) Amazon’s website says that they will "only collect the data needed to provide shoppers with an accurate receipt”, in the ‘Big Brother’ society we find ourselves in, there will undoubtably be some apprehension about what’s in store further down the line…