Amazon opened its first cashierless, full-sized grocery store in Seattle a few weeks ago. Now the company is looking to sell its automated checkout systems to other retailers, according to a report from Reuters. The technology, which is set to be called “Just Walk Out,” has already signed “several” customers that Amazon hasn’t yet named.
It comes as no surprise that Amazon is looking to capitalize on its latest technological innovation. If the technology takes off, it could have a huge impact on the grocery industry. But the technology’s future is still murky at best.
Just swipe and go — Amazon’s full cashierless grocery store uses a complex system of mounted cameras and weighted sensors to track customers throughout the store. At the end of their trip, customers are billed to their Amazon account without any further scanning.
According to Reuters, the system being sold to other retailers will be a little different. Customers will insert a credit card into a gated entrance to be allowed entry into the store. Amazon’s special weighted sensors and cameras will be installed as part of the package.
Amazon might feel some resistance here — Amazon’s plans could be stifled by the industry it’s hoping to infiltrate. Retailers won’t give up their brand name to install this technology, installation will take some weeks, and the technology is sure to come at a hefty price. With so few proven examples of the Just Walk Out technology working in favor of the retailer, this will be a hard sell for Amazon.
Plus, Amazon is often seen as a ruthless competitor by other businesses. Will retailers really invite the company’s technology into their stores?
Who owns that data? — Because everything about this technology is based on internet technology, it raises questions about the data being collected. Just walking into a grocery store with Amazon’s new technology will mean sending your credit card data to Amazon’s cloud services — and then linking your grocery-shopping preferences, too. It’s unlikely that Amazon will use this information to the retailer’s advantage.
Amazon seems very pleased with its latest technological innovation. But whether or not retailers will buy into it remains to be seen.