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NRF 2024: Why 'Just Walk Out' thrives at sports stadiums

Just Walk Out
More stadiums are adopting Just Walk Out technology at merch stores and concession stands.

Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology provides shoppers an easy and convenient way to experience retail. 

One area that has seen the RFID technology take off has been sports stadiums. At NRF 2024 in New York City, Jon Jenkins, VP of Just Walk Out technology at Amazon Web Services spoke with Bill Toney, VP of global RFID market development at Avery Dennison, about how in-stadium merch shops have benefited from adopting Just Walk Out.

“The technology itself, from a performance perspective, has gotten smaller and a lot higher performing,” said Toney, discussing how RFID technology has evolved since the 2000s. “But the big thing is that in the retail enterprise, we discovered that the right application should really start at a case level. You look at things like getting data analytics for theft, looking at point of sale and making it a lot faster and more convenient.”

In October of last year, a concession store equipped with an RFID-enabled version of Amazon’s Just Walk Out frictionless shopping platform, including the Amazon One palm-based payment solution, opened at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, home of the Texas Rangers. The new iteration of Amazon’s checkout-free shopping option was designed for use with apparel and other merchandise like stuffed toys, accessories and more.

Other sport stadiums that have utilized Just Walk Out technology include the new Seattle Seahawks Pro Shop Outlet at Lumen Field and the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle (home of the Seattle Kraken). Bridgestone Arena, the home arena of the Nashville Predators, recently started leveraging Amazon technology in a new cashier-less convenience store. Fiserv Arena, home arena of the Milwaukee Bucks, provides a checkout-free shopping option with Amazon technology, as does the Area in Los Angeles.

According to Jenkins, RFID-based stores at stadiums improve operations in three ways: eliminates wait times for checkout, eliminates theft and creates a more efficient environment for workers.

“If there’s a 10-minute long line to buy a t-shirt at a stadium, now that line is moving really fast,” he said. “The other thing we see is the disruption of shrink. It’s harder to make a mistake and not pay for your items with Just Walk Out. The other thing you see is that you might have to staff-up during the store’s operations at a stadium. One or two of these [RFID] gates really optimize the way we run stores, and even more importantly free up the people in those stores [to help customers.]”

Toney added that the technology also makes the inventory process more efficient, as stadium stores carry a wide variety of items in all sizes.

“Imagine being at a stadium and you have a high number of people coming through those doors and you run out of mediums,” he said. “You can immediately replenish that. Because in the stadium in particular, you’ve got a very short window to maximize your sales. You can have the right unit, but not the right SKU, so the customer isn’t going to buy something because you didn’t have their size or color.”

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