Amazon Just Walk Out: Groundbreaking shop technology installed at Telford's Princess Royal Hospital
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Provided you are a law abiding member of society walking out of a shop without paying certainly feels a little strange.
But, that is how it works in the new Market Express shop at Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Telford, thanks to the new 'Just Walk Out' technology provided by Amazon.
Now technically you don't walk out without paying – you actually hand over the payment details to get in, but its a very different way of shopping to the one we are all used to. Interestingly there are suggestions it could become the norm in shops in the future – effectively the next step from self service tills which have appeared at supermarkets in recent years.
The way it works sees customers having to hover a bank card over a scanner. This then allows them to walk through the gate into the store.
What follows is your normal shop experience – look at the shelves, pick up what you want. The difference arrives when it comes to time to leave. Instead of going to a till, or speaking to a serving assistant, you just walk out of the gate and your bank is automatically debited for the goods you have picked up.
The technology monitors what you pick up as you walk around the store, where staff are present. Interestingly if you go in with someone else then the person who has scanned the card for admission would be debited for items picked up by both people – so if you visit with a friend make sure they scan their own card unless you're feeling particularly generous.
You do have the option to enter an email address on a console for a receipt before you leave, with those behind the technology explaining that customers would only need to do this once. For PRH the shop will make a major difference to quality of life for staff and patients, being open 24-hours.
But in the long-run it could make a bigger difference to shopping habits across the country if it is successful and is adopted at other shops.