Sobeys' intelligent Smart Cart is being piloted in Canada, aimed at enhancing the in-store shopping experience with the aim of helping to improve in-store checkout line-ups.
Available today at the Glen Abbey Sobeys location in Oakville, ON, about a half hour from downtown, the Smart Cart contains technology that scans and weighs products as customers place them in the cart, displaying a running tally as the customer shops. Once done, they can pay on the spot directly from the cart without having to wait in line, remove items to scan one by one, and bag.
"While products and customer eating habits have evolved, the in-store grocery shopping experience has remained relatively static for the last 100 years," says Mathieu Lacoursiere, Vice President, Retail Support at Sobeys Inc. "This is a unique way for us to test innovative new technologies aimed at enhancing the customer shopping experience and learn how best to make it faster and easier. The carts will also give our in-store teammates more time to interact with customers and answer questions about food and new products."
Equipped with AI and machine learning technology, the cart will continually evolve to improve beyond a speedy checkout. The cart's easy-to-read screen will eventually help customers navigate the store to complete a shopping list, highlight great-value promotions, and make product suggestions to round out a favourite recipe.
The pilot is part of Sobeys' customer-focused innovation approach to learn and continuously improve through customer feedback.
The cart will also evolve from "scanning" product, to "identifying" product. It has multiple high-resolution cameras that capture 120 images per second as product is placed in the cart, which allows the cart to learn how to identify each grocery item. Supported by the cart's sensitive weight measures, customers will eventually be able to toss their items into the cart without having to enter any information or scan barcodes.
"Sobeys is an innovative grocer with a strong focus on enhancing the shopper experience," adds Ahmed Beshry, Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer of Caper, the technology partner behind the Sobeys Smart Cart. "The Sobeys Team has incredible execution capabilities. When retailers are able to pick up a new technology and execute quickly, it creates the right environment for rapid innovation."
Caper is a New York-based retail technology company whose first product is the Caper Smart Cart. The autonomous checkout technology is plug-and-play for retailers, requiring no in-store renovation, operational overhauls, or costly infrastructure. Caper has raised more than US$13 million in funding to date with backing from investors including Lux Capital, First Round Capital, and Y Combinator.