The partnership, announced Thursday (Sept. 28) combines payments and technology firm Shift4’s VenueNext solution with Just Walk Out, Amazon’s check-out free shopping tool.
Beginning Thursday, the companies said in a press release provided to PYMNTS, customers can use this solution at Chicago’s United Center arena, which is expanding from three stores using Just Walk Out to seven.
“Shopping at a location powered by Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology is designed to be an effortless experience,” the release said. “When entering the store, customers simply scan the venue’s mobile wallet, powered by Shift4’s VenueNext solution.”
According to the release, Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology detects what shoppers take from or return to the shelves and launches a virtual shopping session. When guests finish shopping, they leave the store without waiting in line, and their VenueNext-powered mobile wallet will be charged for products they take.
Until recently, Just Walk Out had primarily been used for food and beverage sales. But last week, Amazon announced that the addition of radio-frequency identification (RFID) had allowed it to expand the program to let people shop for clothing.
“At computer vision-based checkout-free stores, products are arranged on shelves or tables so the system can see which items are being taken,” Jon Jenkins, vice president of Just Walk Out technology, wrote on the company’s blog.
“This means products like clothing need to be packaged in bags or boxes — but that’s not always the way people shop for soft goods.”
Shoppers, he argued, want to see clothing on hangers, feel the fabric and try them on. With RFID, they can pick out the items they want and walk out of the store — even while wearing said item — by tapping their credit or debit card or holding their hand over an Amazon One palm recognition device.
As PYMNTS wrote last week, Amazon’s announcement “spotlights how it is bringing its technology into a broader retail ecosystem beyond the confines of an online platform.”
For now, that report said, Amazon has “a lot of runway,” as the company’s physical store revenue last year came to $19 billion, compared to rival Walmart’s $100 billion in brick-and-mortar sales for last quarter.
“But Amazon’s move to sell its cashier-less technology to other merchants to help reimagine in-store interactions conceivably gives more torque to its physical retail efforts,” PYMNTS wrote, as the company is in the midst of revamping its grocery stores.
And Amazon also leads Walmart on apparel sales. Last quarter, Walmart’s overall share of retail sales for that segment was 6.9%, while Amazon’s was more than 15%.
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