Kroger, one of the United States’ largest grocery store chains, is in the midst of testing out its new smart shopping cart technology. As of right now, the testing grounds for these checkout-eliminating carts are taking place in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Over the past month, Kroger has been quietly rolling out its new tech cart at its Madeira location under the “KroGo” brand name. This new technology allows Kroger shoppers to fill up their carts with any groceries they need before swiping their credit cards in the built-in screen before heading out to their cars.
These high-tech carts make use of artificial intelligence. Kroger says that the new technology will allow shoppers to assemble orders in their carts without ever having to go through and scan each item. The cart recognizes the particular cereal box that you put inside it or the quantity of produce.
Caper, a New York firm, is behind the new technology.
Every cart includes an integrated scale, which can weight items and display them on the built-in screen. The screen also provides shoppers with promotional offers, shopping list recommendations, and wayfinding capabilities.
To carry their items out to the parking lot, customers can either choose to bag their own items with the in-store bags or bring their own from home.
Lindon Gao, CEO and co-founder of the Caper company, says, “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.”
Beyond Kroger, there are tons of regional supermarket chains under this Cincinnati-based grocer’s umbrella, including Harris Teeter, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Ralphs, King Soopers, Smith’s, QFC, and many more. With over 500,00 employees at almost 2,800 stores across the country, many predict this new shopping cart technology will continue to spread.
Officials from Kroger confirmed the new project in action, though have not commented any further as to what this tells us about the future of grocery shopping in America. However, it is also known that Kroger tests all kinds of new technology in some of its stores.
As of right now, the company is testing the “Scan, Bag, Go” technology in a few of its limited stores. This new technology allows grocery shoppers to utilize personal scanners as they move about the store. However, shoppers must still stop at checkout to pay for their groceries.
Meanwhile, the new Amazon Fresh stores from Amazon are well aware of this technology. They have what they refer to as a “Dash Cart,” which is a smart cart with sensors that work far more elaborately than the carts at Kroger.
Dash Carts also have built-in scales, though customers do not have to scan items as they put them into their carts. Instead, cart integrated sensors automatically read barcodes as customers continuously place items in the cart.
Not only will this technology benefit shoppers who want fast, contactless checkout experiences, but it will also save grocers money by hiring fewer human cashiers, which will allow them to lower prices on consumer goods.