Smart Shopping Carts on the Rise as Stores Adapt to Pandemic Era

Kroger is the latest retailer to embrace automation at a time when shoppers are more thoughtful about who they come in face-to-face contact with.

The grocery store chain revealed last week that it has partnered with artificial intelligence firm Caper to deploy computer vision-enabled shopping carts at a supermarket in Cincinnati. If the test run is successful, the retailer will add connected buggies to more of its stores around the country.

Kroger now has 20 branded smart carts built to know what customers place inside. The wireless buggies can tally up your total, make recommendations, and allow you to pay for groceries directly on the cart. The gadgets eliminate the need to stand in line around strangers or pass off items to a salesclerk.

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For the past few years, connected shopping carts were billed as a way to cut down on labor costs, get customers to spend more, and shift patrons out of stores more swiftly. However, according to Caper, the pandemic has pushed more companies to check out the trend to reduce face-to-face interactions amid the ongoing pandemic.

“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for autonomous checkout technology is driving grocers and retailers to innovate and adopt new technologies that keep shoppers safe and streamline checkout,” Lindon Gao, CEO and cofounder of Caper, said in a statement…   The Philadelphia Inquirer

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