HOUSTON—Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, has partnered with Amazon to equip two food and beverage stores at the park with Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology, according to a news release.
Fans visiting the two Just Walk Out technology-enabled stores can insert their credit card at the entry gates to shop. Once they’re inside, anything they take off the shelf is automatically added to their virtual cart. When fans have completed their shopping experience, they will be able to just leave the store, and the credit card they inserted will be charged for the items they took.
“The Astros are proud to collaborate with Amazon to bring their Just Walk Out shopping experience to Minute Maid Park in 2022,” said Marcel Braithwaite, senior vice president, business operations, for the Astros. “We wanted to provide this state-of-the-art technology to our fans, giving them a more streamlined and convenient shopping experience so they can spend more time enjoying baseball.”
Amazon’s Just Walk Out Shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning.
“We’re excited to work with the Houston Astros to offer fans a fast and convenient way to shop for their gameday essentials using Just Walk Out technology at the 19th Hole and Market stores,” said Dilip Kumar, vice president of physical retail and technology at Amazon. “Our technology is designed to deliver a fast and frictionless shopping experience, so we’re thrilled to help eliminate checkout lines for fans when they need to refuel during games and between innings.”
At the 19th Hole and Market stores, associates will serve as greeters and provide in-store assistance as needed. Guests purchasing alcohol will be required to show their ID to a store attendant for age verification.
Meanwhile, Amazon announced a “fuel and inflation” surcharge of 5% for third-party sellers who use retailer’s fulfillment services, reports the Associated Press. The fees will take effect April 28.
Amazon says that its costs have risen since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic due to increases in hourly wages, the hiring of workers and construction of more warehouses, the company said in a notice to sellers.
“In 2022, we expected a return to normalcy as COVID-19 restrictions around the world eased, but fuel and inflation have presented further challenges,” the company said in the notice.
AP reports that sellers paid Amazon about $103 billion in fees, which made up about 22% of the company’s revenue.
Read more about self-checkout strategies in c-stores in the March issue of NACS Magazine.