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Bloomberg has a story about how a number of technology companies are racing to see if they can develop checkout-free technology to rival that used in Amazon Go stores, or at the very least technology that will allow retailers to blunt the impact of expected growth by the format.

Daryn Nakhuda, CEO of Might AI, tells Bloomberg that “Amazon Go showed ‘how far you can go.’ Very quickly, he says, the state-of-the-art went from you-scan checkout technology to Amazon’s ‘just walk out’ approach and everything in between.” Among the companies developing new store technologies “are startups like Mighty AI,” the story says, “but established giants are wading in, too. Walmart has been testing Go-style technology, and Kroger and Microsoft recently announced a joint venture to bring elements of the e-commerce shopping experience to the grocery store.”

In addition, France’s Carrefour and abka, a Polish convenience store operator, have committed to testing NanoStore technology developed by AiFi.
KC's View:
This stuff isn’t easy. The Bloomberg story makes it clear that most of the companies engaged in this “arms race” are taking longer to develop the tech than they expected, and that even Amazon took longer than anticipated to open its first Go store to the public. (It now operates none stores in three cities - Seattle, San Francisco and Chicago.)

One question I keep getting when i’m doing speeches around the country is whether I think Amazon could license out the Go technology to other retailers. I suppose it is possible, but I wouldn’t bet on it … Amazon has shown that it has ambitious bricks-and-mortar plans, and it is likely to spend time and money on making it applicable to other retail formats (Whole Foods?) as opposed to taking the quick buck that a licensing deal would provide.

Unless, of course, for some reason the company needs a quick buck.