Amazon has been extending an olive branch to other large retailers offering collaborating for cashierless, automated stores — but so far, rivals Walmart and Target haven’t been swayed.
The eCommerce giant is not trusted by its more traditional brick-and-mortar peers, which have usually thought of Amazon as a threat. Walmart has gone so far as to resist using Amazon’s cloud computing services, feeling that would only give Amazon even more leeway in the market.
But Amazon wants to shepherd innovations in retail such as thrifty, quick-paced networking technology, automated decision-making for things like invoicing and cashierless technology.
Amazon has made overtures to Walmart and Target through talks conducted by DENT, which is in charge of the software used at Amazon’s Go stores. The talks with the brick-and-mortar stalwarts are still going on, although Walmart and Target have not indicated interest in participating yet.
Amazon is pitching an idea to make the DENT technology open source, meaning any company could download the tech and use it however they want without necessarily crediting the maker. The company has been working on pushing the “Go” technology, including at one recent event where it showed how the cashierless tech could work in larger store formats, as opposed to the smaller ones it has been mostly operating in prior to now.
The idea behind Amazon’s recent initiative is to try and curb costs of setting up expensive cashierless tech, which could hit numbers higher than most retailers could afford. With the open sourcing system, costs would go down significantly.
Amazon has also pitched an idea called Just Walk Out, where it would participate in a more hands-on way in setting up Go technology for stores, including implementing the cashierless technology itself. That model would also run the technology for free, although it is also available for purchase via DENT.
Airports have taken Amazon up on the offer — the tech can currently be found at LaGuardia in New York City, as well as Newark Liberty International in New Jersey.