Shopping cart

Sobeys plans an even smarter shopping cart

Beyond easier checkout, Sobeys sees more opportunities for customer interaction stemming from its trial of a “smart” shopping cart, said Mathieu Lacoursière, vice president of sales support at retail at Canadian food and drug retailer.

Last week, store associates began piloting the Caper smart cart at the 41,000 square foot Glen Abbey Sobeys supermarket in Oakville, Ontario. The AI-enabled cart, developed by New York-based Caper, has sensors that scan products as they are placed in the cart, and a touchscreen displays selected items and a running total. An attached POS card terminal allows payment directly to the cart, and once payment is approved, the customer can leave the store.

Plans are for the cart, branded Sobeys Smart Cart, to go live with customers in three weeks, Lacoursière said in an interview.

“We are partnering with this young startup called Caper. And what’s cool is that as they bring new features, because they keep evolving and having new versions of the software, we will be able to integrate these new features into the cart”, did he declare. Supermarket News.

The Glen Abbey store is using 10 smart carts as part of the pilot project with employees. Currently, products are scanned via their UPC barcode.

“You could do the same with a weighted article. The trolley has an integrated scale. So you can pick up bananas, for example, enter a code and then just put your bananas in the cart. And that would weigh them and add that amount to your total,” Lacoursière explained. “The other thing is that when you put these items in your shopping cart, some cameras take hundreds of pictures of that product. This is not a feature available from day one, but in the future it will allow us to tell customers that they can stop scanning. They will only have to put the products directly in the cart, and the AI ​​will choose which item it is and add it to your list.


The technology also detects when a shopper removes an item from the cart and asks what’s going on.

“The map would recognize based on the weight that you just took something off the cart and on the screen would say, ‘Hey, we think something’s wrong,'” he said. “And based on the weight, it looks like we believe you just took the pears out of your basket and, if that’s true, just confirm that’s what you did.”

For payment, the shopping cart accepts credit and debit cards — tap or swipe — as well as Apple Pay and Google Pay through the user’s smartphone.

“The cool thing is that there is a lighting system directly on the cart. At the end of your transaction, when you go to the front-end, there is a specific lane where we ask customers to pass,” said Lacoursière. “If everything is paid and OK, the light will turn green. So it tells customers that they are good to go. They can then either leave the cart right there or get out in their car and we’ll put it back inside.

Going forward, Sobeys and Caper expect to help customers navigate the store more easily and save money.

“We are already planning to have an orientation on the trolley. It is not currently available but will be. You may be able to upload your shopping list directly to the shopping cart and then optimize your journey through the store. We’re also going to have some customization. So there are many features that we can think of as we evolve and improve the carts available to our customers,” Lacoursière noted.

For example, based on the store map, category locations and planograms, relevant offers could be offered to customers using the Smart Cart.

“Today we are able to show you a few offers in the store. In the future, we will be able to locate carts in the store, provide you with nearby offers and make recipe recommendations,” he said. he said, “So you can do some recipe shopping at some point. Between Caper and us, we’re not short of ideas of what we can add. That’s what, to me, is exciting. He there is a lot of potential.

Sobeys hasn’t set a timeline for the pilot, but aims to get plenty of feedback from associates and customers before rolling out to other stores, according to Lacoursière.

“It’s about fixing the pain points. From a checkout perspective, you think about queues and the inconvenience of having to take a product off the shelf, put it in your cart, take it out at checkout, and put it back in the bag in your cart,” did he declare. said. “So the main benefit is investing in the customer experience to be able to have a frictionless checkout experience in our store.”