Seattle startup Veeve is extending its smart, cashless shopping cart technology from grocery stores to big-box retailers with a new accessory that effectively transforms ordinary shopping carts into smart carts.
Veeve was founded in 2018 by two former Amazon managers. It’s one of many tech startups looking to help retailers keep up with high-tech retail payment trends, as Amazon continues its own efforts to streamline and eliminate the traditional checkout process in retail stores. physical.
Veeve’s technology detects and analyzes items as they are placed in a basket, and keeps a count on an integrated screen, with a payment system that allows shoppers to avoid queues at checkout, without using a separate app.
The company’s first product was a complete smart cart, built from the ground up.
Veeve’s new device, to be announced this week at the Groceryshop conference in Las Vegas, clips onto the top of regular shopping carts, near the handle, with a built-in display facing the shopper and sensors inside .
The company will sell the new product in addition to its full-featured smart cart, which has a built-in scale at the bottom to determine the price of produce and other items sold by weight in grocery stores. The lack of need for this scale in big-box stores has opened up the possibility of converting regular carts instead, said Shariq Siddiqui, CEO and co-founder of Veeve.
Other than the lack of a scale, the technology in the new Veeve accessory is the same as the full cart, using sensor fusion and computer vision to detect barcodes on products placed in a regular cart, Siddiqui said. .
It will fit almost any cart, he said, in some cases using a base unit that attaches to the cart.
Amazon announced a new version of its Amazon Dash smart shopping cart in July, saying it plans to start rolling out the Dash 2 to Whole Foods Market stores. This indicates that it is expensive to convert existing stores with the overhead cameras, sensors and shelf scales needed for Amazon Go “Just Walk Out” technology, Siddiqui said.
In addition to Amazon pushing the overall market forward, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for payment without human interaction. Both factors have been “strong tailwinds” for Veeve’s business, Siddiqui said.
Veeve says customers using its carts buy twice as much as those using self-checkouts. This has been the main driver of business for the company, Siddiqui said.
The company charges a monthly software-as-a-service (SaaS) fee per shopping cart. The private startup does not disclose revenues or profits. It has tested advertisements on shopping cart screens and plans to integrate with existing retail media networks.
Using computer vision means Veeve’s technology can detect items that haven’t been scanned correctly, taking a short video clip of a product entering the cart and asking the customer to rescan before pay using the shopping cart. That minimizes the kind of loss that caused grocery chain Wegmans to scrap its basic scan-and-go app, for example.
Veeve in May announced a deal to put its complete smart carts in select Albertsons stores in the United States.
Overall, Veeve smart carts are currently deployed in four retail chains in six US states, with multiple stores in each chain, averaging about 10 to 15 carts per store, Siddiqui said.
So far, he said, two stores are expected to launch the new “Plug & Play Model 2” shopping cart accessory, one in the fourth quarter of this year and the other in the first quarter of next year. .
The 15-person company has raised approximately $5 million in funding. Seattle-based Flying Fish Partners is Veeve’s lead investor. Veeve co-founder Umer Sadiq is now CTO of e-commerce infrastructure company Fabric, run by fellow Amazon veteran Faisal Masud. Sadiq is still an advisor, investor, and board member of Veeve.