Checkout-free shopping has gone from fantasy to reality in just a matter of months. An increasing number of companies are beginning to pick up on the service and create technologies that are changing the way we shop and ideally limit the amount of time we spend waiting in queues.
Amazon Go was the first to showcase a no queue shopping experience towards the end of last year, in which customers were able to simply walk in to a store, pick up an item and then leave. It is through the use of tracking technology that enables the store to know a customers details using facial recognition, and charge them automatically through the use of sensors on shelves which can determine what customers are buying. The new experience is being tested currently by employees in Seattle but still has a long way to go.
The attention received from Amazon Go has caused other companies to follow in its footsteps. After some technical difficulties however, including the stores reportedly breaking down if more than 20 people are inside, it seems some companies are using the ideas but taking a slightly different approach.
Barclaycard for example, have recently unveiled its own plans to create checkout-free stores, but this time without the high-tech store that Amazon Go is using. The new concept lets users scan items throughout the store with a smartphone app and leave without any physical checkout. The shops will be able to monitor the transactions live and then check customer’s receipts to counter shoplifters, so merchants won’t need anything new and instead allowing all tech to be “in your pocket”.
The technology is being trialled at the Barclays head office in London, with a high street pilot set for next year. Could this be an improvement on the way we shop or will there still be more technical difficulties to overcome that will make customers and companies lives more difficult?