Microsoft is reportedly working on new technology that would eliminate the need for cashiers and checkout lines in stores according to six people familiar with the project. The technology is similar to that used in Amazon’s automated stores in that shoppers can add items to their carts, leave the store, and have all the items paid for.
Microsoft has apparently shown a sample of the technology off to retailers around the world. It has also spoken to Walmart on the prospect of a potential collaboration. Due to the complex software required in a cashier-free store, companies like Microsoft will be looking to license their software to stores around the world in order to remain competitive.
It’s unclear how far along Microsoft’s work has progressed but there’s a good chance they’re behind Amazon who trialled their store with employees way back at the end of 2016 and finally opened their doors to the public earlier this year.
In the Amazon Go stores, customers scan their phone with the Amazon Go app at one of the turnstiles at the entrance of the shop before heading into to buy their items. When an item is taken from the shelf this is detected by cameras in the ceiling, sensors on the shelves, and added to the customers trolley, once the customer leaves the shop all the items are paid for automatically via the Amazon Go app.
It’s unclear how Microsoft’s implementation looks at the moment so we’ll have to wait for more leaks or until Microsoft is ready to show off its product.