Microsoft Corp (MSFT) appears to be making an effort to take on Amazon (AMZN) in a subtle way through the development of an automated checkout technology. The technology, which could do away with the physical checkout process, involves systems that keep track of the items customers add to their shopping carts.
Microsoft is said to have demonstrated the idea to several retailers worldwide and is also said to be looking to partner with none other than Walmart (WMT) for the same. It is unclear if and when the technology will be available to all, and whether it will actually be feasible to retailers. But there are many who believe this is a novel concept that will transform the retail world. Venture capital firm Loup Ventures projects the US automated checkout market to be worth $50 billion.
This new technology is on the same lines as Amazon’s cashier-free Go store, which scans shoppers’ smartphones upon entering, tracks purchases using sensors and cameras and bills credit cards on exit. Amazon and Microsoft are competitors in the cloud computing space and are leading providers of services that help power e-commerce sites. Microsoft has also developed other retail technologies.
Loup Ventures projects the US automated checkout market to be worth $50 billion
The Amazon Go store, which is currently open in Seattle, will soon operate out of San Francisco and Chicago as well. This is not something competitors can stand by and watch, which is why many are testing out their own versions of the service.
Microsoft faces the challenge of coming up with a technology that completely outshines Amazon Go, while also being reasonably priced. Amazon is bettering itself with each step and others have their work cut out for them if they want to keep up with the prominent online retailer.