Could Amazon be working on a project poised to change the face of retail? A recent patent application suggests this might be the case.
The application, which is a more detailed version of a previous one the company filed, outlines a new kind of brick-and-mortar store that would make shopping much easier for customers. According to the document, the location would feature “a system for automatically transitioning items from a materials handling facility without delaying a user as they exit the materials handling facility.” The idea is for customers to be able to walk into one of these hypothetical locations, choose an item they want to purchase and walk out of the store with it, eliminating the need for a formal checkout system.
“For example, if the user is purchasing items from a retail location, rather than the user having to stop and ‘check out’ with a cashier, teller or automated check station, because the picked items are already known and identified on an item identifier list associated with the user, the user may simply exit the retail location with the items. The exit of the user will be detected and, as the user passes through the exit (transition area), the user, without having to stop or otherwise be delayed, will automatically be charged a fee for the items (the items are transitioned to the user).”
A series of sensors and cameras inside the store will help discern the item being purchased and automatically charge the customer. This same system could possibly be used with items for rent as well.
Amazon has really been working toward creating new technology to make shopping easier. It recently unveiled the Amazon Dash button, a technology that allows Amazon Prime members to reorder particular household supplies they normally run low on by simply pressing a button dedicated to the item. While Amazon hasn’t come out to say if this latest patent will materialize into anything real, it’s clear that the company is banking on innovations in shopping convenience to help secure its future.