CNBC reports that "Amazon is pitching its cashierless checkout technology to hospitals and other health-care facilities.
"The company on Thursday said the latest version of its Just Walk Out system lets health-care employees pay for items at on-site cafes using their work badge. Hospital visitors will also be able to shop at JWO-enabled stores using credit cards and debit cards, as well as mobile wallets. It’s rolling out the tech at St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital in Savannah, Georgia."
CNBC explains that "Amazon’s JWO technology allows shoppers to enter a store by scanning an app and exit without needing to stand in a checkout line. Cameras and sensors track what items shoppers select and charge them when they leave. Some newer iterations of the technology remove the need for ceiling-mounted cameras, and instead use radio-frequency identification, or RFID, tags to keep track of which items are taken off the shelf."
- KC's View:
In addition to offering the Just Walk Out Technology in its Amazon Go stores, Amazon increasingly has been working to license the technology to other business, including airports, college campuses, sports venues and theme parks.
My question is when the revenue being generated by these third part users will surpass that being generated by Amazon-owned stores. When that happens - and it may already have occurred - I think it will provide further impetus for Amazon to consider shutting down its physical stores business (not including Whole Foods) and focus on licensing the tech in addition to being more aggressive about selling groceries online.
Amazon has proven it is very good at specific things, many things, and in fact can be a disruptor in specific segments. But that hasn't really happened in physical stores, and I believe its tolerance for economic pain ain't what it used to be.
That said, the licensing business is an enormous opportunity, and it would be easier for Amazon to make a mark there if it isn't competing in the physical store space. And I think there is an opportunity here for Amazon to go even farther and figure out how to make Prime-style and Subscribe-and-Save-type programs available to physical retailers, especially companies not named Walmart, Costco, Kroger, or Albertsons.