Amazon's futuristic, cashierless stores could be the company's 'Trojan horse' to take over traditional retail

Amazon's futuristic, cashierless stores could be the company's 'Trojan horse' to take over traditional retail

Amazon Go

Getty/Stephen Brashear

A shopper in the first Amazon Go store in Seattle.

  • Amazon Go is Amazon's futuristic store that uses cameras and sensors to charge customers for what they take from shelves.
  • Loup Ventures' Andrew Murphy thinks that Amazon will license the tech for other stores.
  • In this way, Amazon would have a "Trojan horse" into traditional brick-and-mortar retail.

Amazon may be going in another direction with its "just-walk-out" technology.

According to a new bit of analysis from Loup Ventures' Andrew Murphy, Amazon could leverage the technology in Amazon Go - the company's futuristic store that uses sensors, not cashiers, to correctly charge customers for what they take - in a different way than anticipated.

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Instead of simply opening more Amazon Go stores, he thinks the company will instead license the technology to other retailers, which would give Amazon a "Trojan horse into the brick and mortar retail space."

In this way, it would be similar to the infrastructure Amazon built with its cloud-computing platform, AWS, and its third-party marketplace offering, Fulfillment by Amazon.


Amazon is clearly interested in moving into the brick-and-mortar space, and the technology in Amazon Go could be "a turnkey solution for automated retail," Murphy said.

This probably doesn't mean you're going to see the tech in general merchandise competitors like Walmart or Target, but specialty retailers, like Nike, that already sell their goods on Amazon could look to add it to their growing retail presence. It could save on labor costs, or ensure workers focus on customer service instead of rote jobs like cashing out customers.

The race to automate cashiers' jobs as Amazon Go does has the company in the "pole position" to cash in on what Murphy says is a $50 billion opportunity for retailers.

The technology could be a strong driver to bring more brands into the fold as the company courts more and higher-end brands to work with.

Amazon partnered with Calvin Klein over the holidays, using its Echo smart speakers in fitting rooms to answer customers' questions or change the lighting. More collaborations could be possible as Amazon's tech offering convinces more brands to work with it.


A recent report from Recode said Amazon is opening additional Amazon Go stores in Seattle and Los Angeles, with more stores potentially in the works.

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