Microsoft Eyeing Self-Checkout Stores?

by Raymond Pucci 0

Microsoft

Taking a page from Amazon, Microsoft is reportedly working on technology that would enable mobile self-checkout stores. As the following article from Zack’s Equity Research describes, this application would be similar to an Amazon Go store, and there could be a Walmart partnership in the mix.

Reportedly, Microsoft MSFT is working on an automated checkout technology that is likely to make cashiers and long winding checkout queues a thing of the past. With this technology, the software giant can challenge Amazon.com’s AMZN automated grocery shop, Amazon Go.

As revealed by Reuters, a potential collaboration with Walmart WMT is likely in the offing. However, the companies refrained from making any comment.

Similar technology was introduced to the public in January this year by Amazon Go store at Seattle. This was a first-of-a-kind retail outlet without cashiers and check-out counters. It enabled the customers to shop in a hassle-free environment by using the app.

Microsoft is reportedly working on systems that track what shoppers add to their carts. The company has demonstrated the sample technology to select retailers. Microsoft’s check-out free technology can aid retailers to retain pace with Amazon Go.

The technology, if deployed in the market, holds promise. Touted to drive innovation in customer friendly shopping, it will be embraced whole-heartedly by Amazon’s competitors who are striving to retain their foothold in the retail space. This can bode well for Microsoft.

Microsoft does have a portfolio of retail services and applications, so this is not a total surprise. However, if their solution in this case mirrors Amazon Go’s technology, this means it can only operate right now in a retail store with a small, C-store size footprint. Walmart stores, reported as a possible partner, would be too large to accommodate the current technology. Nonetheless, this is an interesting development and one to watch as a further step to reduce or eliminate in-store POS checkout lanes.

Overview by Raymond Pucci, Associate Director, Research Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group