Amazon discontinues ‘just walk out’ technology in US retail stores

Overcoming Barriers to Integrating ‘Just Walk Out’ Systems in Retail: The Economics and Regulations of Automating Shopping Experiences

One of the main challenges of implementing novel technology like “just walk out” systems is convincing people to integrate it into their daily routines. This requires companies to invest in cameras, back-end computing devices, and weighted shelving, resulting in significant up-front costs. Even companies with deep pockets, like Amazon, may find it economically unfeasible to adopt such technology in businesses with thin profit margins, like grocery stores.

However, there are regulatory risks associated with systems like “just walk out,” particularly concerning the sale of tobacco and alcohol. Successful integration of these systems into daily life requires buy-in from government stakeholders at all levels. Small towns, in particular, may view these systems as replacements for human labor, creating additional challenges for companies seeking to implement them.

In light of these challenges, Arcaro suggests that a more gradual approach to automating retail locations may be a more sustainable path forward. An existing ecosystem of automated checkouts and related technology has already shown progress in the industry, offering a less costly and smoother transition. Over time, barriers to entry for these technologies are likely to decrease, making them more accessible to businesses of all sizes.

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