Toronto is getting its first checkout-free shopping experience next month

Toronto sports fans will  soon be able to skip those long cashier lines when buying snacks at Scotiabank Arena. Starting next month, select stores within the venue will implement Amazon Web Services (AWS) technology,  allowing automatic charges to people’s payment cards.

Dubbed,  “Just Walk Out” technology, the system operates by having fans scan their credit or debit cards to enter equipped stores with cameras and sensors. These devices use advanced technology like computer vision, machine learning and artificial intelligence to monitor customers’ selections and generate virtual tabs. When shopping is complete, patrons simply leave, and the system automatically charges their entry card, sending a receipt.

“You will be seeing more of this in Canada, not only in stadiums, but in all sorts of other environments as well,” said Jon Jenkins, vice-president of Just Walk Out at AWS. “We never release timelines…but it’ll be coming very soon.”

The Just Walk Out technology at Seattle’s Lumen Field. Photo: Seahawks

Despite its tech-heavy setup, the system primarily collects purchase data and card information, with no use of facial recognition or biometric identifiers. Greeters are available to assist customers, answer questions, and ensure age compliance at alcohol-selling stores.

“There’s really no substitute for having a human there because not only do you have to ensure that they’re of age, but you have to verify sobriety and things like that as well,” Jenkins said.

The Canadian debut is set to take place at Calgary’s Saddledome on September 29, followed by Scotiabank Arena’s Grains and Greens (100-level) and Molson Market (300-level) on October 1o.

According to Jenkins, in some venues that have already implemented the technology, users have reported entering and exiting stores in under 10 seconds. Lumen Field, home to the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders, experienced a 60 per cent increase in customers and significant sales growth after implementing this technology.

Amazon has been experimenting with this system since 2018 and has already implemented it in numerous Amazon-owned and third-party stores across the U.S., U.K. and Australia, including airports, theme parks and stadiums.

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