Albertsons Deploy Smart Shopping Cart that Self-Checkout
- Some ex-Amazon engineers are rolling out their smart shopping cart for Albertsons stores to make in-person shopping easier.
- The store is deploying smart grocery carts that use cameras and sensors to tally items as shoppers pick them off the shelves and place them in the cart.
- The technology combines computer vision and barcode scanning to identify groceries as you add or remove them from the cart.
- For unpacked items, Albertsons’ smart shopping carts have built-in scales that automatically capture and register the weight of groceries such as fresh produce.
- When you finish shopping, you can press the checkout button on the screens to make payments. Alternatively, you can use the adjacent payment device to pay with a credit or debit card.
Albertson and Amazon are teaming up to bring smart shopping carts to select stores in the United States. The companies are deploying carts that use computer vision technology to identify groceries and barcode scanning to tally the prices as the shoppers pick them off the shelves.
The deployment of the self-checkout carts aims to make in-person shopping easier. While expensive, the sophisticated yet straightforward technology will serve people who value flexibility and want to save time shopping.
What’s a Smart Shopping Cart
A smart shopping cart allows customers to shop without a physical grocery list or even a smartphone. Instead, the cart uses sensors, cameras, screens, and artificial intelligence to independently identify and register the product that a buyer adds to the cart.
The touch screen allows you to track the total among the groceries and notify you of products on offer. Once you finish shopping, you can check out using your Amazon account.
The technology will be a significant convenience for shoppers and potentially save Albertsons a lot of money on paper costs. More importantly, the cart will track customer data, which vendors will use to improve the shopping experience further.
The rollout of these smart carts is another way Amazon changes how people shop. People will only go to stores, grab carts, add groceries, and the AI technology will automatically tally your purchase.
When you finish shopping, you’ll press the checkout on the cart’s screen to make a payment. Alternatively, if you want to use a credit or debit card for payment, you can use the adjacent payment device.
The Technology at The Core
The smart cart uses several technologies to make self-checkout possible. The technology includes
- Computer vision: The carts have a camera that helps them identify groceries.
- Barcode scanning: A barcode scanner helps the cart extract barcodes from groceries, which enables it to tally the prices of items the shopper put in the cart.
- In-built weigh scale: The in-built weigh scale helps the cart determine the prices of unpacked groceries such as fresh produce. You weigh the product, and the technology generates the shopping totals.
- Display screen: Screens allow users to view the totals, see recommendations, check previous order histories, connect shoppers with promotional offers, and make payments.
- Card payment terminal: The card has a payment terminal adjacent to the screen that allows you to swipe with a credit or debit card. The payment device enables cardholders to pay without using the manned checkout.
You can put your groceries in a bag in the cart. However, you won’t leave the store with a buggy without paying. There would be security, just like the one that stops people from walking out of the store with unpaid goods.
What Created the Need For Smart Shopping Cart
The smart shopping cart works to simplify the whole checkout process. While the world is already used to self-serve kiosks, Albertsons wants to take it further. The company is putting all the technology in the cart so that you can check out directly and skip standing in line.
Smart shopping wants to eliminate the traditional checkout lines. The technology eliminates the need to stand in line around strangers or pass off items to a sales clerk.
Pioneers of the technology say that they don’t aim at replacing jobs but free up more front-line workers at groceries that offer customers service or maintain aisles.
For the past few years, physical stores have been looking for solutions that cut labor costs, shifts patrons out of stores more swiftly, and get customers to spend more cash. When the Covid pandemic came, stores had no option but to search for solutions that reduce face-to-face interactions.
In response to the pandemic, the demand for autonomous checkout pushed physical stores to innovate and adopt new technology that keeps customers safer and streamlines checkout.
The Technology Will Require Additional Security
Since the smart cart technology is costly, stores will require an onboard security system to prevent people like the homeless from taking shopping carts and carrying everything inside.
The shopping carts are worth between $5000 to $10,000 each, requiring much more maintenance and upkeep. The carts are more expensive than the traditional ones.
While expensive, the smart cart technology can be a considerable investment for physical stores because it’ll allow them to reduce the number of people working at the registers. The stores won’t need a lot of people to check out, which can help them save on labor.
Yes, the stores will need some people to address customers who want the previous experience, but for those who like the self-serve approach, the technology will suit them best.
Smart Shopping Cart Users to Spend More
Smart shopping carts make customers spend more because the basket tallies up totals in real-time and allows stores to market their products when shopping. For example, if you’re buying bread, the shopping cart might recommend purchasing butter or milk.
The combination of recommendation, advertising, and tallying will readily influence purchases, which helps stores to make more sales.
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