Amazon has incorporated RFID capabilities into its Just Walk Out cashierless technology to handle the sale of apparel and fan gear at two Seattle sports venues. RFID tags placed on jerseys, hats and other items allow customers to carry out (and even wear out) their purchases without standing in line to check out. Consumers select their items and then leave the store via an exit gate that they unlock either with their credit or debit card or by hovering their palm over an Amazon One device.
Earlier this year, Amazon piloted the RFID-enabled Just Walk Out technology for a few games at Climate Pledge Arena, home of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. With positive feedback from customers and arena executives, the new technology will now be deployed at Lumen Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks, at the new Seahawks Pro Shop Outlet for the 2023-24 NFL season.
“Delivering a great fan experience is central to everything we do here at Lumen Field, and our customers love the convenience of Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology,” said Zach Hensley, Seahawks VP of Operations and General Manager of Lumen Field in a statement. “Eight of our concessions locations are already using Just Walk Out technology and seeing great results. Now, we are excited to be the first NFL stadium with an RFID-enabled Just Walk Out technology store so fans can grab their favorite hats, jerseys and more and simply walk out. We are seeing great traction for this new store, and our fans are enjoying the experience.”
Cashierless technology has traditionally relied on having inventory placed into well-defined spaces, such as the MicroMarket operating in a Dave & Buster’s restaurant, which allows the technology’s computer vision to more easily “see” items that customers pick up and take with them.
“At computer vision-based checkout-free stores, products are arranged on shelves or tables so the system can see which items are being taken,” wrote Jon Jenkins, VP for Just Walk Out technology and AWS Applications in a blog post. “This means products like clothing need to be packaged in bags or boxes — but that’s not always the way people shop for soft goods. Customers want to see clothing on hangers, pick them up, feel the fabric, try them on, and may even return the items to other shelves or locations in the store.”
The Just Walk Out technology has been making inroads at sports and entertainment venues. After Lumen Field installed Just Walk Out technology (without the RFID component) at its District Market store, the location saw a 60% increase in customer throughput, with double the number of total transactions per game compared to the traditional concession stand that had stood in the same location. By the end of the season in early 2023, transactions per game in this location had increased 85% and total sales per game jumped 112%. Lumen Field has added eight more Just Walk stores in the arena, including the new RFID-enabled store.
Amazon worked with RFID tech leader Avery Dennison to enable this new capability. “Avery Dennison has been working closely with Amazon from the beginning of this initiative to enable the use of high-quality, advanced RFID sensor technology to establish a fast and reliable automated checkout process,” said Bill Toney, VP of Global RFID and Digital Market Development at Avery Dennison in a statement. “No queues or scanning products ultimately means an improved, differentiated and frictionless customer shopping experience.”