Amazon today introduced a new version of its Just Walk Out retail technology that allows customers to skip the cashier lines when they make a purchase by having their payment card automatically charged. The prior system leveraged a combination of ceiling-mounted cameras, shelf sensors and computer vision techniques to allow customers to shop and then leave the store without waiting to pay. The new system, designed for apparel retailers, instead uses RFID (Radio-frequency identification) tags that let customers grab clothes, shoes, hats and more and then walk out of the store without having to stand in line to pay.
The system would even allow customers to wear their purchases out of the store, Amazon notes.
The updated system allows Just Walk Out to expand beyond products that sit on shelves or tables, where cameras can watch which items are taken. In clothing stores, customers take items off the racks, try things on, and then leave them in the dressing room or on other racks, if unwanted. That would stump Amazon's original Just Walk Out technology, as it wouldn't know which items were being purchased or discarded.
RFID tags, on the other hand, are already used by retail stores to manage and track their inventory, which prompted the idea to utilize them for Just Walk Out instead. Amazon notes they're also cost-effective and easy to deploy, while still offering the same checkout-free shopping experience of its prior system.
To work, every item for sale in the store has a unique RFID tag attached. Customers take what they like and then leave through an exit gate where they can tap their credit or debit card or hold their hand over an Amazon One palm reader payment device. As they pass through the gate, the RFID tags in their clothing and other items are read by RFID readers and their payment card is charged. The customers then receive a digital receipt at https://justwalkout.com/receipts.
Amazon is partnering with RFID sensor and digital identification solutions provider Avery Dennison for its new Just Walk Out technology.
The new tech was piloted at Climate Pledge Arena, in Seattle, Washington, for a few games at the end of the Seattle Kraken’s ice hockey season earlier this year, Amazon says.
The system has since launched at Lumen Field, home of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. During the 2023-24 NFL season, fans will be able to grab their favorite team gear at the new Seahawks Pro Shop Outlet located in the northwest corner of the stadium’s field level, then leave without having to stand in line.
The stadium already used Just Walk Out at eight of its concession stands and is now the first NFL stadium with an RFID-enabled Just Walk Out location. During the 2022 season, its first Just Walk Out store saw a 60% increase in customer throughput, and the total transactions per game doubled compared to the traditional concession stand that previously stood in the same location, Amazon notes. By the end of the season earlier this year, the team saw transactions per game in that location increase by 85% and total sales per game increased by 112%.
In total, there are now over 70 Amazon-owned stores, and more than 85 third-party retailers with Just Walk Out technology located across the U.S., U.K. and Australia, including travel retailers at airports, sports stadiums, entertainment venues, theme parks, convenience stores and college campuses.