Jul 12, 2022
Amazon.com introduced the latest version of its Dash Cart, a smart shopping cart that allows customers to skip physical checkouts in a store and head straight out the door. The retail and tech giant says this next-generation cart includes a number of improvements that will make shopping easier and more convenient.
Dilip Kumar, vice president of physical retail and technology at Amazon, writes about a company Blog indicates that the new carts are lighter than the previous version and can hold twice as many shopping bags as before (four versus two). The carts have an added “delicate items shelf” and a lower shelf for oversized packages.
“We have doubled the capacity of the cart while retaining the ability to quickly measure product weights for certified accuracy and price,” Mr. Kumar wrote. “Consider stepping onto a scale, which typically takes a few moments to stabilize and produce a final weight. The Dash Cart stabilizes almost instantly – we’ve created algorithms that can determine signal from noise, like the cart moving in the store (noise), so it can calculate the weight (signal) without asking shoppers to stop the cart.
The new Dash Cart is now weatherproof, meaning customers can carry it to their car.
“To test the durability, we baked the technology in an oven and froze test carts in a giant freezer to make sure they would stand up to harsh weather conditions. We also dropped heavy weights into test cart baskets over 100,000 times to ensure they would remain serviceable after impact – needless to say, we are confident that the Dash Cart is durable,” said writes Mr. Kumar.
Shoppers will see images of nearby items on their cart screens as they shop, along with messages about products and special offers. Amazon said it has “evolved” the ability of carts to determine where they are in the store.
The carts’ battery life has also been extended, reducing the time they spend charging and making them more available for customer use.
Mr. Kumar said the new Dash Cart, which was available to customers at Amazon Fresh stores, will also be rolling out in the coming months at a Whole Foods located in Westford, MA. Amazon intends to continue offering the technology in its new Fresh stores and is also planning further rollouts at Whole Foods.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What are the reasons that motivate people to use – and not to use – smart carts when shopping? Did Amazon build a better smart shopping cart?
“Rest assured, Amazon would rather see its carts at Kroger than Whole Foods.”
“Amazon has a potentially large revenue stream offering Just Walk Out functionality and the Smart Cart as a Service for the grocery industry…”
“Fixing minor annoyances isn’t going to lead to billions of dollars being invested in buying these carts.”