Amazon Plans Expansion of Cashierless Technology Despite Challenges

Amazon.com announced on Wednesday its intention to broaden the implementation of its cashierless shopping technology, aiming to extend it to more third-party stores in the coming year. This expansion comes amid efforts by the e-commerce giant to decrease its reliance on the technology in its own stores.
Amazon employeesPresently, approximately 140 stores utilize Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” system, which enables customers to enter a store, select items, and exit without the need for traditional checkout processes. Amazon aims to more than double this number over the course of the year.

Responding to recent claims by tech publication The Information suggesting the involvement of human reviewers in India monitoring customers as they shop, Amazon clarified that computer vision algorithms handle receipt generation automatically. However, the company acknowledged the necessity of human oversight to enhance system accuracy.

The extension of Just Walk Out technology to third-party venues, including stadiums and Hudson News outlets at airports, coincides with Amazon’s decision to phase out the technology from its existing Fresh grocery stores. Instead, the company will introduce “smart” shopping carts that track items and charge customers upon store departure, delivering digital receipts. Amazon noted that Fresh customers using these carts tend to spend more compared to those who do not.

Amazon’s cashierless technology has encountered various challenges, including customer confusion, occasional item discrepancies, and delays in receipt delivery, with some reports indicating delays of hours or even days, Reuters news report said.

Earlier this month, Amazon implemented workforce reductions, including layoffs within its physical retail division, amidst broader organizational restructuring efforts. The company has experimented with several brick-and-mortar store concepts in the past, including bookstores and product-focused shops, but has encountered setbacks leading to subsequent retreats.

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