Amazon.com plans to use its tracking system to help brands and advertisers find a better way to sell their products to consumers, it said in a blog post. It detailed how it would begin sharing data gathered by its shopper-tracking cameras and sensors with companies that store their products at Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh stores.
The company first introduced its “Just Walk Out” technology in 2018 where customers could just pick up whatever they wanted and the stores’ shelf sensors and overhead cameras would automatically register the items and bill them on their way out.
The initiative, called Store Analytics, will tell brands how many people picked up their products, put them back and even how many bought them later on Amazon. It brings data-mining that is used in e-commerce, to physical stores. Currently, the tech company now has about 50 Amazon retail stores.
Should brands find Amazon’s technology useful, it might help the company recoup the costs of developing and maintaining the technology. People who work with cashierless systems, both in the industry and at Amazon, have long wondered whether data on what people pick up and their movement through a store, is lucrative or not. Retail analysts on the other hand consider cashierless systems a technological marvel and something that still has a ways to go before it becomes commercially viable for large chain retailers to hop in on the action.
In its blog, Amazon said that brands will be able to see how their products are discovered, considered and purchased in stores and that it will help them make “informed decisions related to promotions and ad campaigns.”
The move is likely to spur data privacy groups into action. Amazon says that any of the videos or images of shoppers will not be sent to brands. Individuals will have the option to not include their data in Store Analytics.