Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 30

> TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION

A Frictionless Future
COMPUTER VISION AND MACHINE LEARNING SOLVE THE CHALLENGE OF WHO
TOOK WHAT AND RECEIPT ACCURACY AT THE AMAZON GO STORE. EXPECTATIONS
OF CONVENIENCE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. > Mike Troy

T

The demise of the cashier has been a long time coming. First
came self checkout systems that steadily gained popularity as
the user interface improved. They are now widespread and continuing to expand even as leading retailers roll out app-based
scan and go systems that leverage smartphones as scanner and
payment devices.
A new milestone in the advancement of the frictionless
checkout experience occurred in January at the unveiling of the
Amazon Go store in Seattle. Shoppers scan themselves into the
store, take what they want and leave. The 1,800 square foot space
is filled with thousands of cameras and sensors capturing data that
runs through complex algorithms to determine who took what so
customers receive an accurate receipt after they walk out.
The complex technology and code required to make Amazon
Go go wasn't easy to develop but it was easier for Amazon than
other retailers who don't have thousands of technologists focused on machine learning. Strangely enough, because most of
those at Amazon have been exclusively involved in e-commerce
operational issues related to category management, space utilization and replenishment of high velocity products is where
some of the challenges have been.
"We are the opposite of a lot of folks because the physical part
of retail is new to us," Gianna Puerini, Vice President of Amazon
Go, said earlier this year at Shoptalk. "The store associates spend
the vast majority of their time keeping the shelves stocked."
Some of the employees also have to let customers know it is
okay to just leave.

Redefining the future of convenience at Amazon falls to Dilip Kumar, Vice
President of Technology, and Gianna Puerini, Vice President for Amazon Go,
the 1,800-sq.-ft. cashier-less store Amazon opened in January 2018.

30

Retail Leader.com MAY/JUNE 2018

"We even wrote above the (exit) door, 'you're good to go.
Thanks for shopping,'" Puerini said. "Watching customers
pause and ask and then see the excitement when they get to just
leave has been fun."
While the store experience is new, it is not hard to imagine how those who frequent Amazon Go in Seattle or other
locations, which are rumored to be in the works, will come
to expect a more streamlined payment experience from other
physical retailers. As for what happens to cashier jobs, a concern
heard with the advent of self-checkouts, Puerini said Amazon's
view was that checkout isn't the best part of the physical shopping experience, but physical shopping is fantastic.
"We just said let's put people on tasks that add more value,"
Puerini said, adding the store has a kitchen full of cooks,
employees stocking shelves and greeters at the entrance to help
shoppers understand the new experience.
She leads the business side of Amazon Go, including operations, product development, design construction and prepared
food and meal kits. Her colleague, Dilip Kumar, serves as Vice
President of Technology for Amazon Go, and explained how
the main challenge with the store was making sure technology
was transparent to shoppers.
"We kept coming back to what sets of technologies tend to
use and leverage use machine learning the most. How best to
leverage computer vision and bring it to bear to the problem of
who took what in a grocery store setting," Kumar said.
Amazon avoided an RFID solution because it didn't want to
want to incur the operational burden of tagging items and instead
created a "just go" solution that was seamless. To do that required
understanding and interpreting video and pushing the boundaries
of computer vision because of a grocery environment where there
are a lot of visually similar items, according to Kumar.
The cashier-less approach taken by Alibaba in China is different and relies on facial recognition and RFID. A concept called
Futuremart now open in Alibaba's corporate campus in Hangzhou offers an assortment of general merchandise products
equipped with RFID tags. Readers detect when products leave
the store and Alibaba's Happy Go facial recognition system detects a person's identify and is linked to their payment method.
Discounts can be earned by smiling.
The company's Alipay division has also begun testing Smile
to Pay facial recognition with a KFC healthy food format called
KPRO in Hangzhou. The system takes two seconds to scan a
customer's face and they also input their phone number to
complete the transaction. RL


http://retailleader.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retail Leader - May/June 2018

Contents
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - Cover1
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - Cover2
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 3
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - Contents
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 5
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 6
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 7
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 8
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 9
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 10
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 11
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 12
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 13
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 14
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 15
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 16
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 17
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 18
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S1
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S2
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S3
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S4
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S5
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S6
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S7
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S8
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 19
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 20
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 21
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 22
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 23
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 24
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 25
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 26
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 27
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 28
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 29
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 30
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 31
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 32
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 33
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 34
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 35
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 36
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 37
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 38
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 39
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 40
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 41
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 42
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - Cover3
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com