April 13, 2024

Amazon is throwing in the towel on its “Just Walk Out” checkout method at its grocery stores, a major about-face for the company.

Just Walk Out used a combination of sensors and cameras to track what items a customer selected and then bill them via their Amazon Prime account. The concept, while seemingly innovative and convenient, According to Gizmodo, the feature reportedly relied heavily on an army of personnel behind the cameras, labeling videos and making sure things were properly cataloged.

Amazon appears to be transitioning to Dash Carts, a smart shopping cart that has a screen and scanner included. The company confirmed to Gizmodo that it was replacing Just Walk Out with Dash Carts.

While Amazon has not gone into detail about the reason behind the switch, the change is likely at least partially motivated by privacy concerns. There are probably many customers that would not be comfortable with the knowledge that an army of people are watching them shop.

The reliance on back-end camera watchers also made Just Walk Out an unappealing option for Amazon to sell to other retailers, as there was no clear path toward cost-effective scalability.