Marvel Stadium taps Amazon’s Just Walk Out to improve fan experience

Kylie Rogers, Executive General Manager, Customer and Commercial for AFL
Kylie Rogers, Executive General Manager, Customer and Commercial for AFL

Long waits at the footy may seem inevitable. Entering the stadium, using the restrooms, and buying food and drink mean waiting in a queue, while a distant audience erupts loudly to the moment you are missing. To solve this, the AFL announced that Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium is the first venue in the Southern Hemisphere to introduce Amazon’s Just Walk Out tech.

What does Amazon’s Just Walk Out bring to stadiums?

The tech simplifies the shopping experience by removing checkout and helps consumers to get in and out quickly and seamlessly. AFL has upgraded two outlets at the 55,000-seat stadium, giving fans the ability to grab food and drinks and get back to the game faster, thanks to a frictionless shopping experience. In the time it takes for a goal break, a Marvel Stadium fan will be able to get the refreshments they need without missing any of the action.

The new technology, which includes the use of cameras and sensors, and machine learning algorithms to process data, will be available at two outlets known as ‘The Runner’—one food and beverage, and one bar—in time for the early rounds of the 2023 Toyota AFL Premiership season. Fans can simply use their credit or debit card, or mobile wallet payment option at entry, collect their items, and leave the store without having to wait in a queue to checkout.

Just Walk Out technology is made possible by artificial intelligence (AI) like computer vision and deep learning techniques, including generative artificial intelligence, to accurately determine who took what in any retail environment. Amazon built synthetic datasets to mimic millions of realistic shopping scenarios—including variations in shop format, lighting conditions, and even crowds of shoppers—to ensure accuracy in any environment.

Charlie Curnow, Carlton Football Club
Charlie Curnow, Carlton Football Club

Shopping at a location powered by Amazon’s Just Walk Out tech is designed to be an effortless experience. It detects what shoppers take or return to the shelves, and creates a virtual shopping session. When guests have completed their shopping, they are able to leave the shop and their choice of payment method will be charged for the items they took.

What does the technology mean for AFL fans? 

“We are continually looking at new ways to modernise our fan experience, and we know everyone will love the fast, convenient experience that Amazon’s Just Walk Out tech will deliver. This is about the fans, bringing them a next-gen stadium experience so they can spend more time enjoying the footy,” said Kylie Rogers, AFL EGM Customer and Commercial.

“We’re thrilled today to launch the first Amazon Just Walk Out technology enabled store in Australia at Marvel Stadium. This frictionless shopping experience will change the game for AFL fans and ensure they can grab the refreshments they need and get back to their seat without missing any of the action,” said Barry Johnson, VP of Just Walk Out technology.

At a stadium in Seattle, Just Walk Out facilitated a 74% increase in customer throughput, and total transactions per game doubled, compared to the previous store design. Based on this success, the stadium has added three additional Amazon-powered stores to the stadium.

Attending the footy can be more enjoyable through innovation and the latest AI and cloud services. AFL and Amazon have removed a key barrier to an even more immersive and high-quality fan experience. With this frictionless new shopping experience, shouting a round for your mates, without missing any of the excitement on the field, is now easier than ever!

What is the wider industry context of this product launch?

The State of Cashless Shopping in Australia

Australia is on the cusp of becoming a cashless society. The use of cash has been declining steadily in recent years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this trend. In 2020, the use of cash fell by 20%, and it is estimated that by 2025, only 2% of all point-of-sale transactions will be made in cash.

There are a number of factors driving the shift to cashless shopping. One is the convenience of using digital payments. With a tap of a card or a smartphone, shoppers can complete a transaction in seconds. This is in contrast to cash, which can be slow and cumbersome to use.

Another factor driving the shift to cashless shopping is the security benefits. Digital payments are more secure than cash, as they are less likely to be lost or stolen. They are also more difficult to counterfeit.

The shift to cashless shopping has a number of implications for businesses and consumers. For businesses, it means that they need to invest in new technology to accept digital payments. It also means that they need to adapt their marketing and sales strategies to reach a cashless customer base.

For consumers, it means that they need to get used to using digital payments. This may require them to get a new credit or debit card, or to download a mobile payment app. It also means that they need to be aware of the security risks associated with digital payments.

The shift to cashless shopping is a major trend that is changing the way we shop. It is important for businesses and consumers to understand the implications of this trend and to adapt accordingly.

Benefits of Cashless Shopping

There are a number of benefits to cashless shopping. Some of these benefits include:

  • Convenience: Cashless payments are more convenient than cash payments. With cashless payments, you can complete a transaction in seconds, without having to fumble for change or count out bills.
  • Security: Cashless payments are more secure than cash payments. Cash can be lost or stolen, and it can also be counterfeited. Cashless payments are less likely to be lost or stolen, and they are impossible to counterfeit.
  • Efficiency: Cashless payments are more efficient for businesses. Businesses that accept cashless payments can process transactions more quickly and easily. This can lead to shorter lines and happier customers.
  • Data collection: Cashless payments can be used to collect data about customer spending habits. This data can be used to improve marketing and sales strategies.

Challenges of Cashless Shopping

There are also a number of challenges to cashless shopping. Some of these challenges include:

  • Cost: Cashless payments can be more expensive for businesses. Businesses that accept cashless payments may have to pay fees to the payment processor.
  • Access: Not everyone has access to a credit or debit card. This can make it difficult for people who do not have access to these cards to shop at cashless businesses.
  • Security: Cashless payments can be vulnerable to fraud. If a hacker gains access to your credit or debit card information, they can use it to make fraudulent purchases.
  • Privacy: Cashless payments can lead to a loss of privacy. When you make a cashless payment, your personal information is often collected by the merchant and the payment processor. This information can be used to track your spending habits and to target you with marketing messages.

The Future of Cashless Shopping

The trend towards cashless shopping is likely to continue in the future. The convenience, security, and efficiency of cashless payments will make them the preferred payment method for many people. However, there are also challenges to cashless shopping, such as the cost, access, security, and privacy concerns. These challenges will need to be addressed in order for cashless shopping to become the norm.

Gerald Ainomugisha is a business news reporter and freelance B2B marketer with over 10 years of experience in writing high-converting copy and content for businesses of all kinds, especially SaaS providers in the niches of HR, IT, fintech, eCommerce and web3. Since joining Upwork in 2012 (back when it was still eLance), Gerald A. has delivered great results for hundreds of clients, maintaining a 98% Job Success rate as well as 5+ years of Top Rated Plus rating (and Premium Writers Talent Cloud membership). Book a meeting with Gerald A. today to get the powerful SEO content you need! 

Gerald Ainomugisha, B2B marketing expert