Amazon is the king of online retail, but as times change avenues could open for rivals to enter the market as viable competitors. A new report suggests Microsoft is willing to take the retail plunge. Reuters reports the company is working on an innovative technology that would transform physical retail stores.
The system would negate the need of cashiers in stores and would remove checkout lines. Microsoft's solution would be a direct rival to Amazon's own nascent automated retails technology.
Using the technology, shoppers would be tracked as they add products to their cart. While Microsoft would be pitching itself against Amazon, the company will not be a direct competitor. Instead it is believed the company is working with physical retailers and wants to help them keep pace with Amazon Go.
To this end, three sources told Reuters that Microsoft is in talks with Walmart Inc. regarding a partnership.
Amazon Go is an automated store that made its debut in Washington State this year. The technology allows Amazon customers to scan their smartphones at a turnstile to enter the store. Through the use of sensors, the store knows what a customer has taken from the shelf. Customers can leave the store and Amazon will automatically bull their credit card.
While Amazon Go is currently testing in Seattle, the company will move fast to spread the concept. Indeed, stores will open soon in San Francisco and Chicago, and expect further expansion to be rapid and aggressive.
The retail industry is scrambling for a competitive solution to compete with Amazon Go. Traditional bricks and mortar companies were already hit hard when Amazon changed the retail landscape online. How will they manage when even the physical space is under threat?
That's where Microsoft comes in. The company hopes its technology will give retailers an automated solution to compete with Amazon Go. Of course, none of these solutions do much for the hundreds of thousands of retails jobs that will be lost through this technological revolution. However, retail companies may be armed with a solution to rival Amazon.
Microsoft is developing the technology through its Business AI division. It is reported 10 to 15 people are working on solutions, which have been assessed by CEO Satya Nadella. Naturally, there is a chance this tech will never be released, but early tests are said to be encouraging.