Grocers develop their own tech responses to Amazon Go
When Amazon.com announced a c-store that would let people shop and walk out without physically conducting a transaction at a checkout, it seemed like a feat only one of the biggest global tech companies could pull off. Now, even regional grocers are attempting the same.
Giant Eagle is launching a pilot in one location in partnership with a vendor called Grabango, according to The Motley Fool. The technology, like that used in Amazon’s Go stores, uses computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) to identify what customers take from the shelves.
A growing list of other retailers and tech start-ups are working on solutions meant to keep up with the Amazon Go curve. U.K. grocer Tesco is rumored to be working with a startup to launch a similar solution in its stores. Startups, including Zippin and Standard Cognition, have opted to launch brick-and-mortar outlets, which use the companies’ respective solutions.
Long checkout lines have long been a major pain point for shoppers. Retailers began introducing solutions like self-checkout decades ago. Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” tech is a particularly radical approach. Retailers that aren’t going that far, however, are nevertheless piloting and rolling out tech-enhanced checkout options.
Another regional grocer, H-E-B, has begun piloting a scan and go solution, which lets customers scan products with their smartphones during their shopping trip, bag them and pay via generated QR code before leaving. Sam’s Club has demonstrated success with its scan and go technology and has been attempting to make it work even faster through the use of computer vision.
In the case of the technology used by Amazon, however, questions of cost, practicality and consumer interest remain. While there were reports of Amazon opening as many as 3,000 Go stores nationwide by 2021, so far it has only opened around 15.
- Amazon Has Competition in “Just Walk Out” Grocery Stores – The Motley Fool
- H-E-B put mobile scan and go tech in customers’ hands – RetailWire
- Will new scan and go tech turbocharge Sam’s checkouts? – RetailWire
- Amazon is said to plan up to 3,000 cashierless stores by 2021 – Bloomberg
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What does the use of checkout-free technology by regional grocers mean for Amazon and its retail rivals? Do you see such pilots as being sensible and necessary for regional grocers, or are they getting ahead of themselves?