Dive Brief:

  • Travel convenience store retailer Hudson announced Tuesday that it will use Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology at select locations, according to a company announcement
  • The grab-and-go technology will first appear at a new Hudson Nonstop store in Dallas Love Field Airport in the first quarter of this year, per the company. Additional rollouts are planned in North America later on in 2021. 
  • Shoppers will be able to enter participating locations using their credit card, take products then will be charged after they walk out of the store.

Dive Insight:

Amazon’s Just Walk Out tech may have been created in part to eliminate lines, but it also has an added bonus of being contactless when hygiene is top of mind for shoppers during the pandemic. 

Just Walk Out does not require that users download an app or create an Amazon account. Instead, shoppers use a credit card and the technology detects what products are being selected via a virtual cart. The service leverages similar technology that is used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning, according to Amazon. 

“Today’s traveler is progressively more connected, mobile, and time sensitive — and they have higher expectations for convenience, safety, and speed during their shopping experiences,” Brian Quinn, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Hudson, said in a statement. 

Retail foot traffic is down overall, sliding 49.3% in malls, according to a December report from foot traffic analytics firm Placer.ai. Even harder hit is the larger travel industry. According to December research from the U.S. Travel Association, since the beginning of March the pandemic resulted in over $500 billion in cumulative losses for the U.S. travel economy.

The one-two punch of both retail and travel losses impacted Hudson, which reported that net sales declined by nearly 75% in the third quarter. The company had to temporarily close over 700 of its stores and furlough employees during the height of the pandemic. Although there was a reduction in passenger travel at the start of 2020, the company stated that volumes have increased significantly.

Hudson currently has over 1,000 stores in airports, commuter hubs, tourist destinations and landmarks across North America.