While online shopping is really kicking off, Amazon still understands the connect people have with shopping in a retail outlet. For that reason, Amazon came up its Amazon Go store initiative this year. The store combines the experience of e-commerce with traditional shopping by featuring no checkout counters. This means that customers can simply pick up products and walk out of the store. While there is only one Amazon Go store setup till now, it does give us an idea about how retail stores could work in the future. Looking at that prospect, even Microsoft has joined the bandwagon and is reported to be working on a similar format.
According to Reuters, it looks like Microsoft is getting ready to make a big difference in the retail industry. The company has been reported to put a team of 10 – 15 people who are working towards developing a technology that could help retailers build checkout free stores, just like Amazon Go. Microsoft also seems to be partnering with big retailers in U.S. to implement this technology, with one of them being Walmart.
Though a specific method still hasn’t been approved, one of Microsoft’s goal is to make the technology cheap enough for retailers to adopt. To do so the company has even brought in a computer vision specialist from Amazon Go, who suggested on attaching cameras to shopping carts to track the items customers get. Use of a smartphone as a vital element in shopping has also been considered.
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On the flipside, Amazon Go uses a whole range of cameras (1,800 to be specific) on the ceiling that identify what customers remove from the shelves in the store. Once the customers are done shopping they can simply walk out of the store and Amazon will bill them for all the items they have picked up. Amazon took about four years developing the technology and currently only has one Amazon Go store in Seattle. However, the company does plan on launching stores in Chicago and San Francisco as well. With Walmart’s contribution, Microsoft can give Amazon a run of its money, but the company still has a lot of catching up to do.