A long-held retail IT fantasy is that complete item-level RFID will be deployed. In theory, this would allow both merchant and shopper to know precisely where every item is, making both inventory and finding that wayward box of strawberry-flavored corn flakes quite easy. But the economics of placing an RFID tag — the cost of which still tends to plateau at about five cents each — have made it nonviable for all but the most expensive products.Hold that thought for a moment. Now let’s consider Amazon Go, which is Amazon’s attempt at an entirely automated physical store. But instead of RFID tags, it uses cameras and video analytics. It presumably starts with a perfectly accurate snapshot of every item in the store and knows exactly where each one is situated.Then it watches shoppers and extrapolates from what happens next, whether an item is placed in a cart (assumed purchase intent) or examined and put back. Ideally, it would also note and remember if an item were returned to the wrong SKU spot, the wrong shelf or even the wrong aisle. (How would it go to the wrong aisle? That happens when the shopper puts the item in her cart and then… Read full this story
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