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Expect more cashier-free stores as Amazon starts selling its Go technology

At most stores, if you grab what you want and walk out, you’ll probably get arrested for shoplifting.

That’s why shoppers at a cashier-free Amazon Go find the experience a little weird at first. We’ve been so conditioned to performing some kind of transaction at the end of a store visit — whether with cash or card, or, more recently, smartphone or smartwatch — that taking something off the shelf and strolling right out still feels slightly illegal.

But if Amazon gets its way, you’ll soon be seeing a lot more cashier-free stores at shopping malls and the like, as the company is hoping to license its technology to other retailers.

If you didn’t already know, Amazon Go’s high-tech system tracks registered shoppers using an array of cameras and sensors placed around the store. When you have everything you need, you can simply walk right out, with the cost of your goods automatically charged to your Amazon account and a receipt sent by email.

The company better known for online shopping than brick-and-mortar outlets launched its first Go store in 2018, with 24 additional stores opening in four U.S. cities since then.

Now it’s keen to license its “Just Walk Out” technology to other retailers, telling Reuters this week that it has already inked deals with several businesses, though it declined to name any of them.

Amazon has launched a new website for potential customers explaining how they could utilize its Just Walk Out system for their own stores. The shopping experience would be the same as it is at Amazon Go except that people would enter the store by scanning a registered credit card instead of the Amazon Go app. Of course, the store would retain its own branding, with the only reference to Amazon popping up on a small display when you swipe your credit card at the entrance gate.

The technology would take several weeks to install, though the precise time period depends on whether it’s a new site or already in operation. Also, like Amazon Go, a store using the Just Walk Out technology wouldn’t be entirely free of workers, as retailers will still employ people to greet and answer shoppers’ questions, stock the shelves, check IDs for the purchasing of certain goods, and so on.

Amazon is continuing to grow its network of cashier-free stores. It’s also exploring new markets with the launch last month of its first-ever grocery store using the technology. The Seattle store, which Digital Trends recently visited, is far larger than its existing Go convenience stores, and therefore can offer a much broader range of items.

But as Reuters notes, Amazon isn’t the only player offering cashier-free technology, with companies such as Grabango, AiFi, Zippin, and Standard Cognition also offering similar systems to retailers.

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Trevor Mogg
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