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Coming Soon: Airport Stores Where You Take What You Need & Leave

by joeheg

We saw Hudson News’ new store concept on a stop at Dallas Love Field. I don’t usually get excited about a Hudson News but this location was different. The “Hudson Nonstop” is the first of the company’s sites to utilize Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology.

While Amazon has used the payment technology at some of its Amazon Go food locations in major cities, Hudson News is one of the first partners to bring it to their stores. The 500-square-foot Hudson Nonstop is located post-security in the middle of the concourse and sells snacks, drinks, local souvenirs and small electronics. You register your payment type as you enter the area, take what you want and leave. The system “sees” what items you take and charges your account accordingly.

Opened in February 2021, the store is intended to be COVID-prevention friendly, with one entry and exit point, and a single path around the area. The selections were limited based on the small footprint, but average for what’d you expect from a mid-concourse location selling necessities to travelers. Since the lines at regular Hudson News locations can get quite long, these stores are seen as a way to reduce the gridlock at the registers.

Not long after the store at Love Field opened, another Hudson Nonstop opened at Chicago’s Midway airport. (I couldn’t find out why the first two locations went to Southwest hubs). The second location was, at 1,000sq ft, double the size, and looked more like a usual Hudson News, except for the gates monitoring who entered and exited.

It took almost another year for the third location to open at Nashville airport. This location is also 1,000sq ft but is focused solely on food and beverage products. In addition to using “Just Walk Out,” the Nashville location also has Amazon One, allowing customers to pay by hovering their palm over a reader.

It’s apparent that Hudson is taking it slow and finding how customers use the new technology before investing significantly in new locations. I’m curious how willing customers will be to let Amazon’s technology track them around the store. They already know what we look for online; what’s the difference between them doing it IRL?

Cover Photo: IG Hudson (@hudsontbf)

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