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Business_news Amazon debuted hand-scan payments to help expand its retail push

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  • Amazon launched Amazon One, a biometric technology that’ll allow customers to make contactless payments using hand-scanning technology.
  • The launch could help further Amazon’s payments and retail push.

Amazon One will allowcustomers, upon sign-up, to enter two Seattle Amazon Go stores using hand-scanning technology. Amazon is planning a wider rollout to its other retail locations and hopes to bring the technology to a range of third-party locations for a variety of different uses, including accepting contactless payments.

Amazon plans to leverage Amazon One to expand its payments and retail capabilities.

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For example, Amazon says One technology could allow users to enter offices and stadiums, or authenticate loyalty cards at checkout. Although other firms likeFujitsu have launched similar biometrics products in the past, Amazon is the first major retailer to create and implement the technology in stores. 

Amazon plans to leverage the biometric technology to expand its payments, retail, and data collection capabilities. A Mastercard study found thatmore than halfof US adults have turned to contactless payments since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Amazon can leverage that trend to appeal to customers wanting to use contactless payments in-store.

Furthermore, Amazon One helps  removefriction during the shopping and checkoutexperiencesince customers won’t have to pull out their cards or mobile devices for payment. And if One technology is coupled withAmazon Pay, Amazon could cut costsassociated with implementing digital wallets in-store—since these firms usually take a cut of the transaction value—helping increase Amazon’s overall revenue. Finally, One technology could alsoimproveAmazon’s data collection capabilities since it couldgain more insight into customer purchases and use that information to market products to consumers, which could help boost Amazon’s sales volume. 

However, the etailer may face customer and merchant adoption challenges:

  • Customers may struggle to adapt to the new biometric tech. Many consumers are wary of adopting biometric technology, especially when it comes to payments, because of concerns about privacy and security. Amazon will need to work to minimize these concerns through customer education initiatives. Additionally, considering the novelty of hand-scanning technology, there may be misconceptions about how to use it. For example, customers may end up touching the hand-scanning sensors instead of hovering over it with their hands, which could deter further adoption from customers because of coronavirus concerns. So, Amazon may have to implement in-store initiatives to educate customers on how to use Amazon One.
  • And merchants may not want to add One technology to their stores because they see Amazon as a competitor. Amazon says that it wants to deploy its One technology with a variety of firms for different use cases. And while retailers may want this technology to enhance the customer checkout and authentication experience, one major concern for retailers may be that Amazon could eventually poach customers from them and drive business onto its own marketplace—especially because the etailer has its foot in many different retail sectors. So, it could run the risk of merchants veering away from the technology for fear of getting too close to a competitor.

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