With the unveiling of the first Amazon Go store in Seattle last year, multiple challengers have been inspired to offer new methods for shoppers to grab items from a store and avoid the checkout line. Standard Cognition and Zippin are two firms that are putting forward their apps and systems as alternatives to Amazon’s cashierless technology, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Challenging Amazon, however, is no easy feat. The eCommerce retailer can easily absorb the costs of undercutting rivals and creating technology. Mark Cohen, who is the former CEO of Sears Canada Inc. and a business professor at Columbia University, told the paper, “They are years ahead of everyone … not just in figuring this out, but in actually proving out the concept.”
Startups such as Standard Cognition and Zippin are tapping into technology that is reportedly similar to that of Amazon Go, with cameras powered by machine learning software and computer vision. At the same time, other firms aim to automate the shopping cart instead of investing in an expensive store overhaul.
The companies are pitching their technology to sports stadiums, convenience stores and grocery chains, with the promise of bolstering profit margins, reducing theft and automating the checkout process. According to the report, analysts expect Amazon to license its technology to retailers and other companies, and some firms are already “positioning themselves as the smarter alternative.”
The news comes as Standard Cognition has acquired DeepMagic, a firm that is at the forefront of autonomous retail booths and cashierless technology. DeepMagic technology allows shoppers to swipe a card when they enter a shopping area, walk out with any item and be charged for it. They operate on the idea that there could be small, unstaffed storefronts inside of apartment buildings or malls. The technology was said to be easier to bring to fruition because it didn’t involve dealing with pre-existing checkout lines.