Amazon is selling its cashierless technology to other retailers, which will enable consumers to pay for goods without waiting in line to checkout.
Without needing an app or an Amazon account, the e-commerce giant's Just Walk Out technology detects which products shoppers take from shelves, tracks them in a virtual cart, and then charges their credit card and emails them a receipt, the company said in its announcement.
Retailers will still need to employ store associates to greet and assist customers, stock shelves and check IDs when needed. Retailers will also manage merchandise returns, the company noted.
The rollout of Amazon's Just Walk Out is yet another example of the company expanding its technological reach. It comes as multiple other startups raise capital to bring cashierless tech to brick-and-mortar retailers, and as retailers are creating their own software. Standard Cognition raised $35 million last year to provide checkout-free tech to more retailers. Last month, 7-Eleven announced that it is piloting its own cashierless tech for employees at its corporate headquarters in Texas.
For consumers, the appeal behind cashierless technology is its convenience. A recent report from PYMNTS.com and USA Technologies found that nearly half of consumers use unattended retail channels, like vending machines, cashierless stores and self-serve kiosks, because they're faster than traditional retailers.
The Just Walk Out technology, which Amazon said could take a few weeks to install into stores, utilizes computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning tech. The company noted that the technology might work best in stores with high demand, long lines or stores where shoppers are in a hurry.
"Since launching Amazon Go years ago, many retailers have expressed an interest in offering similar checkout-free shopping experiences to their customers," the company said in a statement. "By extending our technology to other retailers, more customers will delight in the Just Walk Out experience as they can take what they want and leave without stopping to check out."
The technology requires consumers to enter the store with a credit card, per Amazon's announcement, but does not note whether it has plans to accept cash in the future. The argument against cashless stores, for the most part, has been that it excludes those that are unbanked or underbanked, that is when someone has a bank account but uses additional services to cash checks. Several locales like Philadelphia, New Jersey, San Francisco and New York City have passed legislation banning cashless stores.