Cibo Express will be the first retailer to use Amazon’s Just Walk Out cashierless technology and has confirmed its first checkout-free store will land at Newark Liberty airport on March 16. The news comes just days after Amazon confirmed plans to sell its automated checkout technology to third-party retailers, though it stopped short of revealing any clients at the time.
Amazon first debuted its Amazon Go cashierless supermarket concept back in 2016, meshing computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning smarts to allow customers to put groceries into their basket and just walk out — with payments automatically debited from their Amazon account. The company has since opened more than two dozen such stores across the U.S., but licensing the technology to third parties will scale its impact considerably.
Hospitality group OTG operates more than 100 Cibo Express gourmet markets at airports across North America, and from next week visitors to Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport will be able to use its newfangled Amazon-powered checkouts.
Just walk out
Unlike Amazon Go stores, which require the customer to have an Amazon account and scan a mobile app on entry, Cibo Express customers scan their credit card to enter and then grab whatever items they want and walk out. The on-shelf weight sensors automatically detect items as they’re removed or replaced, adding items to a virtual cart accordingly.
Airports make sense for cashierless technology deployment, given that millions of travelers are pressed for time and long queues could deter some from entering a store.
“OTG has always embraced technology as a means of optimizing the airport experience so that we can give our guests their time back,” said OTG CEO Rick Blatstein. “By using the world’s most advanced shopping technology in our CIBO Express Gourmet Markets, we’re doing just that by putting our guests in full control of their time.”
A number of other players are already operating in the AI-powered checkout sphere, such as Grabango and Standard Cognition. But Amazon is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the growing demand for cashierless stores, given its brand recognition and technological backbone.
Indeed, Just Walk Out represents the latest in a line of technologies Amazon initially developed for its own use and then opened to third parties. The most obvious other example is Amazon’s AWS cloud division, which began as an internal project to improve the company’s own infrastructure. Today, AWS represents more than 10% of Amazon’s revenue globally, and it also underpins its automated checkouts, which means this move will drive its cloud revenue up even more.
OTG said it plans to open additional cashierless stores at Newark Liberty and LaGuardia airports at a later date.