Amazon.com is launching shopping carts that track items as shoppers add them, reports CNBC. The Amazon Dash Carts automatically charge customers when they remove their grocery bags, allowing them to skip the checkout line. These smart shopping carts will roll out at Amazon’s new Los Angeles-area grocery store, which is slated to open this year, the company announced Tuesday. Dash Carts build on the “Just Walk Out” cashierless technology first deployed at Amazon Go convenience stores, which let customers buy items without waiting in checkout lines.
Shoppers must have an Amazon account and a smartphone to use a Dash Cart. After entering the store, users scan a QR code, located in the Amazon app, that signs them into the cart and loads Alexa shopping lists. Each cart is equipped with cameras that use computer vision to identify items as they’re placed in bags inside the cart, and a built-in scale to weigh them if necessary. As shoppers add and remove items, a display on the front of the cart adjusts the total price. When they’re ready to leave, shoppers exit via the store’s Dash Cart lane, where they're charged via the credit card linked to their Amazon account and emailed a copy of the receipt.
Total Retail's Take: Amazon knows its niche in providing frictionless online shopping experiences, and the company is continuing to dig into seamless in-store shopping and cashierless checkout. At the same time, Amazon is diving into the grocery store vertical and launching its new supermarket chain with Dash Cart technology after opening its first Amazon Go Grocery store earlier this year.
"With shoppers demanding a faster and more convenient checkout, as well as a contact-free and safe shopping environment, retailers must keep up by experimenting with cashierless concepts that ensure a frictionless transition," comments GK Software USA CEO Michael Jaszczyk.
The COVID-19 pandemic will further fuel consumers' interest in the ability to shop without interacting with others or handling physical payments, as safety and social distancing are top of mind for today's shoppers. If the customer experience is as great as promised, Amazon will have hit the nail on the head yet again in meeting customer needs and wants. Other retailers would be wise to take notice, especially if contactless offerings haven't yet been implemented during the health crisis, as "the retailers that learn from early adopters like Amazon and deploy technology that’s designed for simplicity and convenience will be the ultimate winners,” says Jaszczyk.
Kristina Stidham is the digital content director at Women in Retail Leadership Circle and sister brand Total Retail. She is passionate about digital media and handles video, podcast and virtual event production for both brands. You can often find her at WIRLC, TR, or industry events with her camera and podcasting equipment recording interviews with retailers.
Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia. Go Owls! When she's not in the office, she loves to go on long walks, sing around the house, hangout with her two pet guinea pigs, and travel to new places.