New convenience store will enable 24/7 purchasing without need for staff or payment terminal
In collaboration with Transact and Chartwells, the University of Pittsburgh will give students a contactless, checkout-less shopping experience by deploying Amazon’s Just Walk Out on campus. A new on-campus convenience store will allow shoppers to walk in, select items and walk out without interfacing with an employee or point-of-sale system.
Pitt uses Transact’s mobile ordering app that allows students, faculty and staff to place food orders at an array of on-campus dining locations. The Transact app and transaction system are key to the Just Walk Out solution at the university.
While shopping, Just Walk Out detects what is taken from or returned to shelves. When done, the shopper walks out, and the Transact system automatically deducts the total from the customer’s campus funds
“We are excited to collaborate with Pitt to introduce Amazon's Just Walk Out technology. Transact’s goal is to redefine the student experience by eliminating checkout lines and accelerating transaction speed,” said Laura Newell-McLaughlin, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Integrated Payments and Campus Commerce at Transact. “With the integration of Transact Mobile Ordering for store entry and payments, we’re taking significant strides in streamlining daily campus life.”
At the entrance to the store, the customer scans the mobile ordering app. While shopping, Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology detects what is taken from or returned to the shelves. When done shopping, the customer leaves without having to wait in line or physically pay for the items. The Transact Mobile app automatically deducts the total from the customer’s available campus funds (e.g., Dining Dollars, Panther Funds, or Pitt Cash).
According to an article in the Pitt’s University Times, employees can also use the Transact app and link their Panther Card or a credit card.
Just Walk Out uses artificial intelligence, computer vision and deep learning to pinpoint which customer took what items in any retail environment. It eliminates checkout lines, saves customers time and reduces staffing requirements. At Pitt, the store will be staffed at times and operate partially unattended 24 hours a day, providing access to food and other essentials day or night.
The solution is part of Pitt’s multimillion-dollar renovation of its main dining facility, The Eatery. Together with Chartwells, its on-campus dining partner, the facility features nine dining concepts and state-of-the-art technology integrations. The entire renovation is scheduled for completion in Fall 2024, but it will occur in phases so that the facility can continue to serve the campus community.
“As one of the first universities in the United States to integrate Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology, Pitt is elevating the student experience by making shopping faster, easier, and more convenient,” says Matthew Sterne, Vice Chancellor of Business Services at Pitt.
For a view into how the Amazon Just Walk Out solution works, check out the video at the top of the page.