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Sobeys Pilots ‘Intelligent’ Grocery Shopping Carts In Ontario Store

Sobeys is bringing an “intelligent” shopping cart to its Canadian grocery stores with the launch of the Sobeys Smart Cart, a technology-enhanced shopping cart designed to improve in-store checkout lineups. The Sobeys location in Oakville, Ontario will roll out 10 of the new smart carts as part of a pilot project, with plans for the carts to be more readily available in mid-November following a staff training period.

The carts feature multiple cameras, a scanner, a scale and an integrated payment system. A touchscreen displays on-board items, in-store promotions and a running tally of purchases, allowing the customer to pay on the spot. For items with a barcode, a customer can scan the code and drops the item inside the cart. Produce and bulk items can similarly be tossed inside the cart, where a scale that runs under the basket calculates a price, resetting after each item is added.

Equipped with AI and machine learning technology, the cart also will make product suggestions to round out a recipe based on what a shopper already has thrown in the cart. With the cart’s high-resolution cameras and sensitive weight measures, customers will eventually be able to toss items in the cart without having to enter any information or scan barcodes.

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“While products and customer eating habits have evolved, the in-store grocery shopping experience has remained relatively static for the last 100 years,” said Mathieu Lacoursiere, VP of Retail Support at Sobeys in a statement. “This is a unique way for us to test innovative new technologies aimed at enhancing the customer shopping experience and learn how best to make it faster and easier.”

The Sobeys Smart Carts are rolling out as major retailers across North America, such as Amazon, are competing to improve the traditional checkout experience. While cashierless stores may currently be a niche phenomenon, more retailers are continuing to experiment with the technology.

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