Can autonomous stores catch on?

Barry Levine on
  • Categories: A-From MTT, Amazon, Channel: Retail
  • Don’t look now, but experiments to turn physical stores into automated vending machines are breaking out all over.

    Last month, Chinese e-commerce giant announced it is opening hundreds of convenience stores that have no human employees. Designed around facial and object recognition technology, this initiative goes beyond Amazon’s Go pilot autonomous store, unveiled a year ago. JD’s effort is only the latest in a series of unmanned store experiments in that country.

    Also in December, Walmart said it was experimenting with a cashierless store concept store called Project Kepler that was also propelled by computer vision. And that big box retailer has already started using robots to scan aisles, check what’s out of stock and automate restocking.

    An Amazon patent for a mirror that dresses the shopper in virtual clothes without help from store personnel became public last week. And LG showed robots at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show that are designed to take the place of serving staff in hotels, airport lounges and restaurants.

    [Read the full article on MarTech Today.]

    About The Author

    Barry Levine
    Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.