“Just Walk Out Shopping” Impact on Retail

Have you seen the Amazon Go video? Watching it feels like watching science fiction or at least something years away. But Amazon Go is a reality, operating in test form in Seattle, Washington. Amazon Go, one of Amazon’s recent forays into the brick-and-mortar world, is a Just Walk Out Shopping store. Customers log in to the Amazon Go app when they enter the store, pick up the items they want to purchase, and just walk out. No waiting, no checkout, no bagging. And for retailers: no cashiers, no cash wraps, no frustrated customers in long lines.

A New Shopping Experience

Customers will, of course, be thrilled with this new kind of shopping experience. It fits with all the recent trends toward improving the customer experience and making shopping as convenient and easy as possible for shoppers. It also fits with the trend toward merging bricks and clicks, combining the ease of check-out and lack of waiting that comes with online shopping with the ability to touch-and-feel and instant satisfaction that shoppers love when they’re perusing a physical store.

Potential Drawbacks

Just as with any change, the retail and consumer worlds will be waiting to see what drawbacks will come along with this new way of shopping. Technical difficulties, of course, could derail the project. Theft could also be an issue if consumers figure out a way to get items out the door without the scan technology working, an interesting case of merging bricks and clicks where the retail thief has to be a hacker as well!

Impact on Retailers

More changes will also come in the physical state of stores that implement Just Walk Out Shopping. They will need entry area fixtures to help with the check-in process. Cash wraps will disappear or be reduced. Store footprints can be reduced or the space the cash wraps used to take up could be used for other fixtures and furniture that drive the trend toward customer experience shopping, like individual service pods, charging stations or comfy hang-out areas with upholstered furniture.

So while it feels like science fiction, we expect to see Just Walk Out Shopping, or similar competitive changes, in checkout procedures in retailers across the board in the coming years. The fit with many recent retail trends, including merging bricks and clicks and improving the customer experience, supports expectations of success with this concept. Just Walk Out Shopping will change how people shop and how retailers configure their physical locations and plan shopping experiences for their customers.

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