Amazon is offering its "Just Walk Out" checkout-free tech to other stores

Amazon is offering its checkout-free store technology to other companies, the same Just Walk Out system that Amazon Go locations use to track virtual carts. The technology has been used in a number of Amazon Go locations, where shoppers can simply pick up what they want and then leave the store, with the tracking cameras automatically charging their accounts for what they selected.

Now, Amazon is offering up the system for other companies to use. "Just Walk Out technology enables shoppers to simply enter a store, grab what they want, and just go," the company says. "Born from years of experience at Amazon Go, Just Walk Out uses a combination of technologies to eliminate checkout lines. We now offer retailers the ability to leverage this technology in their stores to help bring fast and convenient checkout experiences to more shoppers."

Just Walk Out will be a platform, it seems, linking different vendors using the same system. Shoppers won't need an Amazon account, however, or to download a specific app. Instead, their account will be linked to their credit card. If they use the same car in the same store later on, or indeed in a different Just Walk Out-enabled store, then it will automatically recognize them and, if they've selected it, send them a receipt for those visits to their email address.

It's not a staff-free setup, however. Retailers will still need a human presence on-hand to answer customer service questions, to handle returns, and of course to restock the shelves. They'll also need to check IDs for age-restricted items, like alcohol and vaping products.

Nor is it a franchise system for Amazon Go. Instead, the retail behemoth says, this is a response to "many retailers" having expressed an interest in using the same virtual cart tracking technology. In return, Amazon will get only the data required to put together an accurate receipt of their purchases.

Existing and new locations are suitable for the technology, which Amazon says can take as little as a few weeks to install. It provides all the necessary hardware and software, as well as 24/7 support via phone and email to store owners. It's the responsibility of those store owners to respond to actual consumer questions and comments.

It's unclear which vendors Amazon may have got onboard with Just Walk Out, and when we might see the first third-party stores open using the technology. Meanwhile, Amazon recently opened its first Amazon Go Grocery store, using the same virtual cart system but with a much larger selection of items.