Amazon Put The 'Smart' In A Shopping Cart

Ruben Fields
July 14, 2020

How the items purchased will get from the store to your vehicle and home, is unclear, but it looks like the Dash Cart could prove a boon as far as social distancing and limiting physical interactions while grocery shopping goes.

"We built this predominantly as an alternative to things like express checkout, where you still end up waiting in line, or fumbling with self-checkout machines", said Dilip Kumar, Amazon's vice president of physical retail and technology, in an interview this week.

Whether Amazon is planning for a wider rollout or potentially using these Dash Carts in Whole Food stores in the U.S., is still to be determined, but for now the offering is designed for small-to-medium shopping trips. Still, the Dash Cart has more technology involved than exclusively relying on wall-mounted cameras. Upon arrival, customers will sign in using a QR code in the Amazon app and then place products into their own bags while shopping. The service will debut at Amazon's Woodland Hills, California, grocery store.

The smart shopping cart can detect any products inside of it automatically, and it will let customers pay for their groceries without having to interact with a cashier. "The experience will be created to be seamless, very convenient, very easy for customers to understand".

The Dash Cart from the e-retailing giant is essentially a mobile version of Amazon Go. It started with its Go stores being tested out in select cities in the U.S., and now the company has extended its vision to shopping carts.

To use Dash Carts, you must have an Amazon account and a smartphone.

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Amazon further extended the cashless technology beyond its Go convenience stores.

Several startups are already making similar smart shopping carts that are being tested in stores, but many require scanning groceries before dropping them in.

Amazon also aims to bring other retailers to its level by selling them technology. No problem, a display on the front of the cart adjusts the tally.

In addition to the sensor tech, the cart has a screen at the top that allows customers to access their Alexa Shopping List and check things off, as well as view their current subtotal.

Amazon confirmed its plans to open a new grocery store separate from Whole Foods after it began posting job listings for the store in late 2019, as CNET reported at the time. The company is experimenting with cashierless stores that enable customers to walk out with their items and be billed automatically.

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