Amazon Selling Cashierless Checkout Technology Powering Its Go Stores

A CIBO Express store at Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC

Following the playbook of developing innovative technology then making it available to the broader market, Amazon is now offering to sell the cashierless checkout capability behind its Amazon Go self-serve stores.

The technology, called Just Walk Out, is already under contract to several retailers that Amazon wouldn’t name, the company told Reuters. It functions differently than a Go store in that customers insert their credit or debit card to enter a turnstile, vs. scanning with the Go mobile app. The turnstile will say “Just Walk Out technology by Amazon” but otherwise the retailer owns all branding.

OTG, which operates more than 100 CIBO Express stores at 10 U.S. airports, is the first named customer of Just Walk Out, according to TechCrunch, beginning next week at Newark Liberty Airport.

Amazon has already followed this “build then sell” model to great success with its Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing network, which drives a good deal of its profitability, and more recently with its logistics and delivery services. In a related note, Just Walk Out is powered by AWS, so it would feed more data business.

“Just Walk Out technology enables shoppers to simply enter a store, grab what they want, and just go,” Amazon said on the offering’s website. “Born from years of experience at Amazon Go, Just Walk Out uses a combination of technologies to eliminate checkout lines. We now offer retailers the ability to leverage this technology in their stores to help bring fast and convenient checkout experiences to more shoppers.”

The technology will be installed and supported by Amazon, including ceiling cameras and shelf weight sensors, the company told Reuters.

Cashierless checkout and the return of the store was a big focus at NRF’s Big Show in January, with a number of providers offering hardware and software solutions, including NCR, Smart Shelf, Inokyo, Kooick and WalkOut. In all there were 45 vendors in the “automated checkout” category.

Because retailers want to retain and own their customer data, and by extension the experience and ability to tailor offers and programs, some have concerns about partnering with Amazon for that reason, and that could extend to Just Walk Out. Nike said as much last November when cutting ties with Amazon after a two-year trial.

Amazon addressed this concern in response to Reuters. “We prohibit the use of Just Walk Out technology data for anything other than supporting Just Walk Out retailers,” said Dilip Kumar, Amazon’s vice president of physical retail and technology.

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