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Ontario is getting its first-ever “smart” grocery cart today

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There’s a very solid chance you’ve heard of a Smart car… and the new Sobeys Smart Cart isn’t a far jump from that idea.

The first “intelligent shopping cart” is being introduced to Canadian grocery stores today, with the launch of the Sobeys Smart Cart pilot at the grocer’s Glen Abbey location in Oakville, Ontario.

The innovative, technology-enhanced shopping cart offers customers with an engaging, fast, and fun way to shop, and focuses on improving one of the most stressful parts of grocery shopping: the lineups at the register.

CNW Group / Sobeys Inc.

The cart is equipped with technology that scans and weighs products as customers place them in the cart, displays a running tally of purchases, and allows the ability to pay on the spot. Which means… no lineups.

“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, vice president of retail support at Sobeys Inc. in a release.

“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 carts will also give our in-store teammates more time to interact with customers and answer questions about food and new products.”

Equipped with AI and machine learning technology, the cart will be able to evolve continually, in order to improve the shopping experience, exceeding a focus on the checkout.

For example, the cart’s easy-to-read screen will eventually help customers navigate the store to complete a shopping list, highlight promotions, and make product suggestions to round out a recipe.

CNW Group / Sobeys Inc.

The cart will also eventually evolve from “scanning” product, to “identifying” product, with thanks to multiple high-resolution cameras that capture 120 images per second of items dropped into the cart, allowing it to learn how product identities. Which means that in time, you won’t even need to scan your groceries… the cart will just know.

“Sobeys is an innovative grocer with a strong focus on enhancing the shopper experience,” said Ahmed Beshry, co-founder and chief business officer of Caper, the technology partner behind the Sobeys Smart Cart.

“The Sobeys Team has incredible execution capabilities. When retailers are able to pick up a new technology and execute quickly, it creates the right environment for rapid innovation.”

CNW Group / Sobeys Inc.

According to Sobeys, research shows that 52% of Canadians feel their current in-store shopping experience would significantly improve if they were able to quickly and conveniently navigate the store. Which is where this cart, and the plans for its future, comes into play.

“The best Canadian brands aim to be world-class by thinking ahead and placing bets on unique innovations,” Lacoursiere said.

“We’re constantly looking for new ways to evolve the grocery shopping experience. During the Smart Cart pilot, we will engage with our customers in real time to better understand what inspires them and adds value to their shopping experience throughout the store.”

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