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Amazon extends cashierless checkout to apparel, other softlines

Just Walk Out with RFID (Photo: Amazon).
Customers using 'Just Walk Out' at Climate Pledge Arena (Photo: Amazon).

Amazon has debuted a new version of its checkout-free shopping option designed for use with apparel and other softlines merchandise.

Amazon’s frictionless “Just Walk Out” technology enables customers to take what they want without having to stop to check out, with the experience made possible by computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning technology that detects what customers take from or return to the shelves. The new version combines the power of Just Walk Out with RFID technology to "address the unique nature of shopping for softlines," Amazon said.

With the new system, all the items for sale have a unique RFID tag, designed to look similar to a standard apparel tag. After the customer is done shopping, they leave the store through the designated exit gate by tapping their credit or debit card, or hovering their palm over an Amazon One palm payment terminal. 

As they pass through the gate, the RFID tags are read by RFID readers and their payment card is automatically charged.   Shortly after exiting the store, customers will be able to access their receipt online. The system even allows customers to wear their purchases out of the store.

Amazon piloted the new system in spring 2023 at select Just Walk Out-enabled concessions stores at the net-zero carbon-certified Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle (home of the Seattle Kraken NHL franchise).  Following positive feedback from the pilot, Amazon launched the RFID-enabled checkout-free system at Lumen Field, home of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks for the 2023-2024 NFL season. The new Seahawks Pro Shop Outlet located in the northwest corner of the stadium’s field level is selling fan gear using frictionless shopping.

Lumen Field installed its first Just Walk Out technology-equipped store in September 2022, and has since added eight more Just Walk Out technology stores in the arena (including the new RFID store), making Lumen Field the venue with the most Just Walk Out technology locations anywhere in the world.

"Delivering a great fan experience is central to everything we do here at Lumen Field, and our customers love the convenience of Amazon's Just Walk Out technology," said Zach Hensley, Seahawks VP of operations and GM of Lumen Field. "Eight of our concessions locations are already using Just Walk Out technology and seeing great results. Now, we are excited to be the first NFL stadium with an RFID-enabled Just Walk Out technology store so fans can grab their favorite hats, jerseys, and more, and simply walk out. We are seeing great traction for this new store, and our fans are enjoying the experience."

Currently, there are more than 70 Amazon-owned stores, and more than 85 third-party retailers with Just Walk Out technology located across the U.S., UK, and Australia.  To date, the technology has been used primarily for grocery and convenience-store type items.  But the new RFID-enabled system, could expand Amazon's checkout free experience to a much wider variety of outlets.

“Just Walk Out technology is all about delivering convenience to shoppers, and helping store owners and retail operators increase revenue with cost-optimized technology,” Jon Jenkins, VP Just Walk Out technology, AWS Applications, said in a corporate blog post. “We look forward to rolling out both RFID and computer vision-based Just Walk Out technology to more locations and delivering the future of convenience.”

Amazon developed the new checkout-free capability with RFID sensor and digital identification solutions provider Avery Dennison.

“Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology is an exciting example of how RFID technology is disrupting traditional retail models,” said Bill Toney, VP of global RFID and digital market development at Avery Dennison. “Avery Dennison has been working closely with Amazon from the beginning of this initiative to enable the use of high-quality, advanced RFID sensor technology to establish a fast and reliable automated checkout process. No queues or scanning products ultimately means an improved, differentiated, and frictionless customer shopping experience.”






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