Amazon's ditching its Just Walk Out tech in stores

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A while back, Amazon launched something pretty ambitious. This is a store where you can simply grab the items you want, walk out, and be charged accordingly. This forgoes using a traditional cashier. Well, it appears that Amazon is going to ditch its Just Walk Out technology.

Amazon has been developing this technology for quite some time, and it has distributed it throughout about half of the Amazon Fresh stores present in the States. There are also other Amazon Fresh stores with this technology including those in the UK. This means that the technology has not been able to make it to other entities despite the company’s efforts to distribute it.

Amazon is ditching its Just Walk Out tech

As cool as this technology sounds, there was a lot of drama going on behind the curtain that basically spelled this technology’s demise.

Data concerns

For starters, technology like this does not come without its price. We’re not just talking about money; we’re talking about data. If oil is “black gold,” then data is “digital gold.” The Amazon Just Walk Out technology employs a bevy of sensors and cameras to identify the people taking products off of shelves. This will help the company identify what products are being taken off of shelves.

These sensors would have to collect biometric information such as faces and the shapes of people’s bodies. This is something that the city of New York did not like, and it filed a class action lawsuit against Amazon.

Not really cashier-less

Another thing about this tech is the fact that, while it was “cashier-less”, the technology was not devoid of human intervention. A ton of data was gathered through the cameras, and there was actually a team of over 1,000 workers in India scanning the camera footage. So, while there were no cashiers, there had to be an army of people looking over the footage. That, ostensibly, costs much more than a handful of cashiers.

The cost of running this technology was pretty high in general. Since it was only supported in a handful of stores, it appeared that more money was going out than was coming in for the technology. So, Amazon had to ditch this technology. It earns much more money from people doing online shopping than people doing real-world shopping. Buying a fruit salad at an Amazon Fresh store doesn’t quite push people to shop for a dress online, so the company isn’t prioritizing its in-store experience as much. The outflow of money isn’t quite justified.

Amazon walks out

Because of these factors, Amazon is walking back this technology in its stores in the US. While that’s the case, it was still operating in the stores in the UK.