Amazon’s cashier-free Just Walk Out techology is being used at the Quick 6 store at Six Flags Magic Mountain, and scores of third-party retailers are also using it. (File photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)
Anyone who has visited Six Flags Magic Mountain knows the wait can be long to board rides like the Lex Luther Drop of Doom or Twisted Colossus rollercoaster — paricularly during the holidays.
But walk over to the theme park’s Quick 6 concept store and you’ll be in and out fast.
The 400-square-foot shop, a collaboration between Six Flags, Amazon and Coca-Cola, offers a streamlined, cashier-free shopping experience, thanks to Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology.
Amazon first introduced Just Walk Out at an Amazon Go store that opened in Seattle in 2018. The technology has since spread to more than 25 Amazon Fresh grocery stores and more than 20 Amazon Go locations in the U.S., and it’s also in use at more than 15 Amazon Fresh stores in the UK.
But it doesn’t end there. Just Walk Out has also been farmed out to other companies.
More than 85 third-party retailers are using Just Walk Out at US airports, convenience stores, college campuses and sports stadiums, including Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Kia Forum in Inglewood, Javits Center in New York and the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., among others.
Burt Flickinger, managing director for the retail consulting firm Strategic Resource Group, said the technology speaks to a consumer base that’s grown increasingly tired of waiting.
“Eighty percent of consumers reference price as a top priority, and 80% reference speed,” he said. “Amazon has revolutionized retail for decades. And they’ve perfected the innovation of reducing the amount of time it takes to shop and leave the store.”
Guests enter the Quick 6 store using their credit card at the entry gate. As they shop, the technology detects what they take from or return to the shelves to create a virtual shopping session. The shop sells everything from food and drinks, to branded Six Flags merchandise like mugs and T-shirts.
When visitors complete their shopping, they can leave the store without waiting in line, and their choice of payment method — credit or debit card — will be charged for the items they took with them. The technology functions with the help of cameras, weight gauges, scanners and lots of AI learning.
Flickinger said Just Walk Out lends itself particularly well to sports stadiums.
“Many of these stadiums use volunteers to run the food and beverage stands,” he said. “These people are well intentioned but inexperienced, and they’re usually raising money for charities. But they can be painfully slow. This technology will increase the speed, and with higher speed comes higher customer counts and higher sales and profits.”
If the Quick 6 concept resonates with park visitors it will likely be expanded to other Six Flags locations, said Stephanie Borges, global vice president of the theme park chain.
Neil Saunders, managing director for retail at consulting firm GlobalData, said the Just Walk Out rollout at Six Flags makes sense.
“I do think the technology is particularly useful at destinations where people are in a hurry, where there can sometimes be surges in the number of people that are quite sudden and are difficult to cope with,” Saunders said in an interview with ModernRetail.
Rachel Chahal, director of amusement and entertainment partnerships at Coca-Cola, hopes the partnership with Six Flags will improve Coke’s retail sales per visitor by 10%.
The total transaction time in the Quick6 shop could amount to less than 50 seconds with Just Walk Out — far less than the time spent standing in line to buy a Coke at a vending machine or typical retail store in the park, she said.
Earlier this month Six Flags and Knott’s Berry Farm owner Cedar Fair announced a merger that will create an $8 billion theme park juggernaut with 27 amusement parks, 15 water parks and nine resort properties in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
It will also have entertainment partnerships and a portfolio of intellectual property including Looney Tunes, DC Comics and Peanuts.