Shift4 Payments Inc. announced Thursday it is integrating Amazon.com Inc.’s Just Walk Out technology into its VenueNext application for sports stadiums and other arenas. The big payments processor says it will introduce the checkout system at the United Center in Chicago, a venue where Shift4 already provides processing for purchases made at concession counters and stores within the stadium.
The United Center becomes the third known sports arena to integrate Just Walk Out technology, along with TD Garden in Boston and Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle. The Chicago arena will make Just Walk Out technology available at its three stores within the stadium and has plans to open four more stores featuring the technology, according to Shift4.
Just Walk Out technology is best known as the checkout system at Amazon Go stores. The technology allows consumers to enter a store by scanning their mobile wallet. Once inside, shoppers are tracked by cameras and sensors that detect what they put in their shopping baskets and what they put back on the shelf. When consumers are finished shopping, they exit the store and their purchase is automatically charged to the card on file in their digital wallet.
Amazon debuted the system in 2018 at its Amazon Go store in Seattle. Since then, Amazon has installed the technology at additional Amazon Go stores around the country, its Whole Foods supermarkets, some sports venues, and at other merchants, including the British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, and for WHSmith, which operates newsstands featuring food and beverage items for travelers in airports and rail stations, according to an Amazon blog post from September 2022.
Other tech providers, such as Standard Cognition Corp., have rolled out technology similar to the Just Walk Out platform.
For its part, Shift4 says it plans to expand Just Walk Out to other sports and entertainment venues, as well as other merchants. Dustin Alpert, head of sports and entertainment, restaurants, and e-commerce for Shift4, says by email that that the deal is a mutually beneficial partnership that creates opportunities to expand the checkout technology to markets outside sports and entertainment venues, where both Shift4 and Amazon have a big footprint.
“We are the leader in sports and entertainment from a commerce perspective and [have] a very robust loyalty platform,” Alpert says. “Mutual customers told Amazon if they wanted to expand their number of stores, they had to have a direct integration with Shift4.”
For Shift4, the integration of the Amazon technology creates a point of differentiation for its platform by speeding up transactions, an advantage at sports venues. “It’s a technology that gets people back in their seats faster, especially in stadiums, by simplifying the purchase process,” says Thad Peterson, a senior analyst at the consultancy Datos Insights.