business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal has a story about how “U.S. retailers large and small are pressing ahead with testing the use of artificial intelligence to track what products shoppers pick up and to automatically bill their accounts when they walk out the door, eliminating the need for checkout lines.”

In other words, sort of like Amazon Go.

The Journal writes that “recent AI adopters include Sam’s Club Inc., the warehouse retailer owned by Walmart Inc., and Giant Eagle Inc., a regional chain of grocery and convenience stores. Giant Eagle said last month that it would test a technology similar to Amazon Go’s at a convenience store in Pittsburgh, where it is based. Several companies that sell cashierless technology - including Standard Cognition Inc. and Vcognition Technologies Inc., which does business as Zippin - said they are working with U.S. customers but declined to give details.”

And, it isn’t just big companies: ”Choice Market Holdings LLC, which operates a Denver convenience store focused on fresh food, plans to open another location next month and is developing three others. It plans to introduce a cashierless system, using in-store cameras and sensors, in two of the planned stores next year.”

The story notes that “a global survey of about 400 retailers conducted in June by research and advisory firm International Data Corp. found that 28% are testing or piloting cashierless systems.”
KC's View:
I have argued from the moment I saw my first Amazon Go that technology of this kind will end of being as important to the retail business as scanning. I still feel that … maybe even more so.