A handful of American companies, from giants like Amazon and Walmart to upstarts like Standard Cognition and Zippin, are betting on a windfall for whoever works out the bugs in cashierless checkout — and makes it cheap. But like so much of tech, it's a global race, and the Chinese are surging ahead.
American retailers may be focused on the wrong thing. Their obsession is with totally hands-free checkout, which Amazon dubs "just walk out." But Chinese retailers have figured out that there are cheaper and easier ways to eliminate checkout lines.