retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon is trying to sell a number of major retailers in its checkout-free Amazon Go-style technology - among them Walmart and Target.

Neither company is biting.  Yet.

It was announced last week that Amazon is starting  anew business that will license its checkout-free "just walk out" technology to other retailers.  Amazon said that it already has signed several deals with customers that it was not yet willing to publicly identify, though it became public later in the week that several airport stores at Newark Liberty International would be using it.

As with Amazon Go stores, consumers will be able to take products off store shelves, put them in bags or even their pockets, and then be accurately charged after they leave the store.  Unlike with Amazon Go stores, they will not need a mobile application to enter stores, but rather will just use a credit card to gain entry; that card will then be charged when they depart.

The Journal writes this morning that "Amazon is making some of the software that underpins its 'Go' stores available through an organization called Dent," and that "Amazon is trying to gain favor with retailers by making the technology offered by Dent 'open source,' which allows those that download the software to use it however they want, without any connection to the e-commerce giant."

The story points out that "Amazon faces an uphill battle in winning over retailers, which for years have viewed the Seattle-based company as a threat. Walmart, for instance, has asked some of its traditional vendors not to use Amazon’s cloud-computing services to avoid giving a competitor more financial muscle. Other retailers also have tried to avoid using Amazon’s data storage and computing services."

KC's View:

I don't blame Amazon's direct competitors if they are reluctant to do anything that might put any money in Amazon's pocket, much less spread its influence and footprint even more than it pervades the world already.