April 21, 2024 at 12:41 pm

Amazon Scraps “Just Walk Out” Stores That Were Using Remote Workers To Confirm Purchases And Not Advanced AI Technology

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

For better or worse, Amazon is usually the first to be looking for “better” (read: “cheaper”) ways to do business.

A few years ago they had the idea to make their Amazon Fresh groceries stores into a “Just Walk Out” model, meaning there would be cameras and other tech throughout the store to monitor what went into your car.

No cashier, just walk out and your card would be charged.

Well, they’re scrapping the idea, and one of the big reasons why is that it actually required thousands of Indian workers to function as “remote cashiers,” because the tech wasn’t all that good.

Amazon first rolled out the Just Walk Out system in 2018, saying that it would revolutionize your retail experience using AI.

As with a lot of other AI tech, though, this one proved to be disappointing.

It was slow and expensive, and the outsourcing to cashiers so far away led to a poor customer experience.

Then there was the question of what Amazon was going to do with the data they were collecting about the shoppers in their stores.

Consumer advocacy group Surveillance Technology Oversight Project got involved, filing a class action lawsuit that accused Amazon of failing to inform customers that their information could and would be sold to the highest bidder.

Amazon’s grocery store chain is still much smaller than its largest competitors like Kroger and Walmart, so they will be moving onto the next thing in an attempt to lure customers into their stores.

Instead of the Just Walk Out system, they plan to move to the scanners and screen-embedded shopping carts that seem to be working for Sam’s Club, Walmart, and a few others.

Amazon will call theirs “Dash Carts.”

Since Just Walk Out was super invasive as far as privacy and also cut out local jobs, I doubt it will be missed by many people.

That said, you never know if something is going to work until you go ahead and try it.

UPDATE: April 29, 2024:

A represnetative from the company contacted us and shared this blog post with some competing information. Please feel free to read it and make the decision for yourself.

If you enjoyed that story, check out what happened when a guy gave ChatGPT $100 to make as money as possible, and it turned out exactly how you would expect.