Hudson, the chain of stores you’ve most likely purchased a bottle of water from while waiting at an airport, announced yesterday the opening of its first Hudson Nonstop store. The new store features Amazon’s Just Walk Out cashierless checkout technology, allowing customers to walk in, grab what they want and leave without needing to wait in line.
Now open at Gate 10 at the Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL), the new Hudson Nonstop is a freestanding 500 sq. ft. store that has a single point of entry and exit. Customers swipe or tap their credit as they enter the store, grab what they want, and exit, getting charged automatically for whatever items they took.
Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology, which powers Amazon Go stores, uses cameras, computer vision, shelf sensors and artificial intelligence to keep track of what items people take and leave the store with.
Hudson launching its own line of stores using Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology is the latest news in what has already been a busy year for the cashierless checkout space. Since January we’ve seen Zippin launch a cashierless convenience store in a hotel in Japan, AiFi partner with Wundermart and Standard Cognition raise $150 million.
The pandemic is helping drive all this activity as retailers look to create more contactless retail experiences. With cashierless checkout, there is no human cashier to act as a vector of transmission (or get the virus themselves), and customers don’t need to stand in lines near each other as they wait to pay. Additionally, early evidence suggests that cashierless checkout creates a faster shopping experience, so people spend less time inside the store.
An airport is actually the perfect place for a cashierless checkout store. While the pandemic remains a looming public health threat, people have a heightened awareness of hygiene while traveling by plane. Removing at least one human interaction while getting a pack of gum can help make things a little easier. But even after the pandemic recedes and people start traveling again en masse, flyers buying items at airports want to do so quickly. Skipping the checkout line altogether makes buying that bottle of water as you race to your gate a less stressful proposition.