Just Walk Out Technology is a form introduction by Amazon as part of its Amazon GO retail concept on the west coast. Basically, you can buy without lines and without going through the checkout. A combination of technologies (say, as used in autonomous cars) are used to figure out what you pick up and put in the cart or on your back. As soon as you leave the store, your order is totaled, your Amazon prime account is billed, and you receive a receipt on your mobile. All you have to do is – go. Currently, the store is open to employees only. That should change in 2017. Here’s the video:

Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? You might ask yourself, “How can a company, even one as cool as Amazon, develop this whole concept and make it real?” It’s not easy, and Amazon moves mountains to come alive. To run pilots like this, retailers must coordinate as activities from multiple departments into a new customer experience that runs smoothly. Which departments are affected? Here are just a few:

  • store planning
  • Supply chain
  • Shelves, lighting, signage
  • Real estate
  • Finance
  • Service
  • Digital-only box packaging
  • Computer vision
  • Deep Learning Algorithms
  • sensor fusion

But Amazon didn’t conceive of Just Walk Out Technology alone. The idea has roots that go back almost 20 years… roots that Amazon is building… and roots that your company can also use in its own projects. Companies that have not introduced new shopping technologies or autonomous cars can also surprise their customers and shareholders.

TESCO’s HomeGoods brand placed previously unused South Korean subway tunnels to be used as a virtual store that passengers used as a catalog when they went to work. Go to the item you want using an app on your phone, scan the codes and have groceries delivered to your door before you get home from work. Better than Amazon’s model, this one allows you to avoid the outward, shipping, and checkout parts of purchases. Check out their video:

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Perhaps the original version of the boxless shopping concept was the IBM eBusiness commercial shown on television in 1999. In this 60-second conceptual commercial, viewers are led to believe that a male customer is stealing items by simply placing them on. inside your coat – as customers and regular employees watch and grow more suspicious. When he leaves the store, special effects are used to show that a ‘machine’ is scanning him and his groceries. The video makes the concept comprehensive and fun at the same time. The video ends with “Checkout lines. Who needs them? This is the future of eBusiness. Almost like Amazon…

If you’re struggling with ideas for your own business—ideas that can set your future direction or separate you from the pack—you might like to know that there are tools and services available to help you dream bigger and build faster. At Storyminers, several building services for the future nominated: FRED (Future Retail Experience Design), HUMAN PROTOTYPING® (Imagine Big Ideas without Big Expenses), EXPERIENCE DESIGN (Get the Details Right) and IoT MAKEOVER (Let Your Teams Participate in how your business can work smarter using the Internet of Things). Interested? Just raise your hand 😉