The grocery shopping experience has undergone a number of changes over the past few years. From the COVID-19 pandemic increasing online grocery shopping to the proliferation of self-checkout machines, the average grocery shopper experience is markedly different than it was a decade ago.
Not all changes have necessarily been for the better. Sixty-seven percent of shoppers experienced outages with self-checkout systems. And supply chain challenges continue to affect a wide variety of grocery products.
However, as Raz Golan, co-founder and CEO of Shopic, explains, the introduction of smart cart technology is poised to help solve many of the challenges grocery shoppers currently face.
How Smart Cart Technology Works
Shopic’s smart cart technology app is quite intuitive – and also optional.
Unlike other smart grocery carts, which use specialized hardware built into the carts, “Our product is a clip-on device,” Golan says. “Customers who want to use it remove it from a loading shelf and mount it on top of a standard shopping cart as they enter the grocery store. The device then automatically identifies items as they go. “they are added or removed from the cart and displays the running total. When you finish shopping, you can use the device for self-checkout and then return it to the charging station.”
In addition to item scanning and self-checkout functionality, the smart cart device can also be programmed to display personalized promotions and discounts for relevant products based on what the customer has already added to their cart or of what is currently on sale. The device can offer even greater personalization when paired with a grocery store’s existing loyalty app.
The system works through what the tech industry calls “computer vision AI,” which in this case is able to recognize products no matter what angle they are placed in the cart. The AI can even track when multiple items are added at once, ensuring customers receive an accurate running total for their cart.
Many people like the general ideas behind self-checkout: full control over the transaction while eliminating long queues and potentially awkward social interactions.
But as the survey results cited earlier reveal, actual execution rarely lives up to these expectations. Self-checkout failures typically require the intervention of a store employee to complete the order, negating the very benefits that self-checkout is supposed to provide.
These questions are at the heart of the concerns of the Golan.
“Because our smart cart technology automatically identifies your items when you add them to your cart, you don’t have to worry about manually scanning barcodes or waiting in long lines while someone checks out. trying to complete their order. You won’t have any nasty surprises at checkout either, because the real-time display of order totals helps you stick to your budget by telling you exactly how much everything is going to cost.
Despite these conveniences, the Shopic smart cart device doesn’t have to completely eliminate human interaction. A “Help” button allows customers to request assistance from anywhere in the store, sending an alert to store staff to guide them to the exact location of the customer.
“The goal is to make grocery shopping as easy and stress-free as possible,” Golan says.
Helping grocers deliver better experiences
In addition to the more obvious ways smart cart technology can improve your grocery shopping, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that can help grocers deliver a better in-store experience. “By identifying the items that go into your cart, the system collects anonymized data that the grocer can use to improve their store,” Golan says.
“For example, it makes it easier for stores to track stock levels so they can restock popular items before they run out. This type of tracking can also help them improve the layout of the store for easier navigation. All of this can be done without giving any personal information, allowing your favorite store to get even better over time.
As supply chain issues continue to make it difficult to source certain food items, anything that makes it easier for grocers to keep items in stock can help ensure shoppers don’t need to make multiple trips. to find what they need.
In some cases, smart cart technology could even help grocery stores save space by reducing the number of checkout stations (and eliminating self-checkout lanes altogether). Whether that extra space is used to improve the layout or to add new products or services, it’s yet another way smart cart technology can bring improvements to your routine errands.
A better grocery shopping experience
“Grocery shopping can still be seen as a chore for some people, but it doesn’t have to be a chore,” Golan says. “By providing a frictionless shopping experience better suited to your needs, smart cart technology will make grocery shopping faster and easier than ever. And when grocers leverage data to improve their store layout and selection, the experience can be even better. »
By directly addressing the challenges associated with other technologies implemented in the grocery industry, smart cart technology aims to create a more user-friendly shopping experience than ever before.