OPINIONTechnology

Has the Time Come for Contactless Payment?

Amazon Go opens a showcase but who's buying?

The Lempert Report

With the coronavirus pandemic, there is a lot of discussion—and possible faster adoption—of contactless payment options coming to grocery.

Amazon Go technology isn’t the only system that is available, but it seems to be getting the most attention, especially as Amazon announced its rollout in a larger store format: Amazon Go Grocery, which is just more than 10,000 square feet with 5,000 SKUs. Amazon says it plans to license the technology to other retailers.

As we have reported before, Amazon Go technology uses a combination of cameras, shelf sensors and software that allows shoppers to pick up items and walk out of the store without having to scan items or stop at a checkstand. When a consumer enters the store, they use their smartphone to “register” and their account is automatically charged through an app. Amazon currently operates 25 Amazon Go stores in Seattle, New York, Chicago and San Francisco, which range in size from about 450 square feet to 2,300 square feet.

It’s obvious that Amazon will use this much larger store to prove the technology works and use it as a showcase to get other retailers to use the technology in their own stores. But I do have some questions when it comes to other retailers clamoring for Amazon Go technology. 

Amazon scares retailers. Why would they partner with them? And let’s not forget that Amazon is one of the smartest data companies on the planet. And while I have not seen an Amazon Go technology agreement, I’d bet that somewhere it stipulates that Amazon will see another retailer's sales and customer data.

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