Amazon is switching to RFID technology for its cashierless shops. That should make them easier and cheaper to implement.
With exit gates
Amazon has created a new version of its cashierless technology, The Verge reports. Unlike the previous system, it now no longer requires a complex network of smart cameras, but it does require significantly more effort from shop employees and suppliers. Each product is given an RFID tag that is automatically scanned when leaving the shop.
The new system was first tested at a sports arena in Amazon’s hometown of Seattle. Customers walk in freely, choose what they want and then go through an exit gate that scans the tags. To pay, customers use their credit card or pass their hand over an Amazon One hand scanner.
RFID technology is becoming increasingly well adopted within retail: in Decathlon‘s new store of the future near Madrid, it allows customers can compare shoes, collect parcels for click&collect and self-checkout. In food, Belgian Exki has developed smart fridges/vending machines that work with RFID: sensors automatically scan what people take out. The tags are still a hefty investment: every package of each product needs an RFID tag.
Amazon nonetheless believes that its Just Walk Out technology will become more accessible (and affordable) to more retailers without the complicated camera system. According to The Verge, the e-commerce giant hopes to immediately install its the Amazon One handheld scanners at retail customers as well, giving the company even more data on consumers. More than 150 shops are now said to be using Amazon’s cashierless technology.