“We’re trying to reinvent the brick-and-mortar store,” Gill commented, adding that Amazon’s own research has shown that queues are often the biggest source of friction and annoyance for customers in stores.
“We tried to bring the mentality and ease of online payments at Amazon to the physical store.”
Amazon has launched several Fresh stores in the UK, but also offers its technology to other retailers, such as Sainsbury’s and WHSmith.
Instead of using checkout counters, customers tap their credit card or mobile phone app as they enter the store, then are tracked via in-store cameras and sensors, monitoring what they pick up or return. They can then leave without having to pay at the cash desk.
Gill said it allowed retailers to consider opening smaller stores or placing them in locations that otherwise wouldn’t be possible, such as the thoroughfare of an airport.
“When you come out of store checkouts, customers get more space, so there’s room for more products or a different form factor,” he said.
“Many companies are considering launching completely new store formats with us because they don’t need to have a checkout in the store. For the retailer, this allows him to play with space and with formats.
Just Walk Out sensors also allow retailers to reduce waste.
For example, if a customer takes a product out of a refrigerated cabinet and then places it on another shelf elsewhere in the store, the technician can notify store employees of the item and let them know how long it has been out. from the refrigerator.
Likewise, the “black box” of information that sensors and cameras provide to retailers means businesses can gain insights such as where people congregate in a store or what they frequently pick up or drop off. .
Businesses will also be able to use their staff to sell other products to customers, as they will not have to manage checkouts.
“They can spend more time with customers and increase sales numbers by focusing on customer experience,” Gill said.
Amazon is trying to encourage different types of retailers to adopt its technology, such as cafes, sports arenas, resorts and airports.
It has been used by US airport retailer Hudson, as well as Starbucks, Resorts World in Las Vegas and stadiums such as UBS Arena in New York and the Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park.
However, other retailers have opposed the company by launching their own version of the paymentless technology.
In the UK, Tesco went live in High Holborn, London, in August last year, with technology powered by Trigo, while Aldi opened a similar type of store in Greenwich, south- East London in January.