Amazon is taking a giant leap forward in the world of checkout-free shopping by introducing radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to enhance the shopping experience.
This development announced on Tuesday, September 19, builds upon Amazon’s successful ‘Just Walk Out’ technology, which has already transformed the retail landscape.
Since the launch of its first ‘Just Walk Out’ technology store in 2018, the innovative system has allowed customers to enter select stores, select their desired items, and simply walk out without the need for conventional checkout procedures. This has gained immense popularity in various sectors, including entertainment venues, airports, universities, grocery stores, and stadiums, spanning the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
The heart of the ‘Just Walk Out’ technology lies in its use of technologies such as computer vision and generative AI, coupled with cameras and shelf sensors. This combination enables retailers to offer a diverse range of products, from food and beverages to home goods, without the hindrance of checkout queues.
Shopping for clothing and similar items presented a challenge because customers typically want to see, touch, and try on these products before making a purchase.
RFID, a well-established technology used for inventory management, has now found a new home in Amazon’s checkout-free environment. In RFID-enabled Just Walk Out stores, customers can select clothing, hats, shoes, and more, and exit through a gate by simply tapping their credit or debit card or hovering their palm over an Amazon One palm recognition device. This seamless process eliminates the need for conventional checkout lines.
Amazon first trialled RFID-enhanced ‘Just Walk Out’ technology at the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Washington, during the final games of the Seattle Kraken’s ice hockey season earlier this year. The feedback from both fans and arena officials was overwhelmingly positive, leading to the technology’s recent launch at Lumen Field, home to the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.
Zach Hensley, Seahawks vice-president of operations and general manager of Lumen Field, in expressing excitement, said: “Eight of our concessions locations are already using Just Walk Out technology and seeing great results. Now, we are excited to be the first NFL stadium with an RFID-enabled Just Walk Out technology store so fans can grab their favorite hats, jerseys, and more, and simply walk out. We are seeing great traction for this new store, and our fans are enjoying the experience.”
Lumen Field’s initial Just Walk Out technology store, District Market, witnessed a 60 per cent increase in customer throughput during the 2022 season, with transactions per game doubling compared to traditional concession stands. By early 2023, the team reported an 85 per cent increase in transactions per game and a 112 per cent rise in total sales per game, leading to the addition of eight more Just Walk Out technology stores in the arena.
‘Just Walk Out’ technology is available at over 70 Amazon-owned stores and more than 85 third-party retailers across the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, with new locations continuously opening. These include travel retailers at major U.S. airports, sports stadiums, entertainment venues, conference centers, theme parks, convenience stores, and college campuses.
To make this RFID-enabled ‘Just Walk Out’ technology a reality, Amazon collaborated with Avery Dennison, a leading global provider of RFID sensor and digital identification solutions for the retail industry. Bill Toney, vice-president of global RFID and digital market development at Avery Dennison, commented on the partnership, stating, “Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology is an exciting example of how RFID technology is disrupting traditional retail models.”