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October 24, 2019

Sobeys Smart Cart debuts offering frictionless shopping

By Douglas Blakey

Canadian retailer Sobeys is claiming a Canadian first with Smart Cart – the country’s first smart grocery cart.

Sobeys Smart Cart provides customers with what it says is a highly-engaging, fun and fast way to shop. Smart Cart is now live at the grocer’s Glen Abbey Sobeys location in Oakville, Ontario.

The Sobeys Smart Cart aims to enhance the in-store experience via frictionless shopping at the checkout.

Sobeys Smart Cart technology scans and weighs products as customers place them in the cart. It displays a running tally of purchases while the customer shops. And so customers can then pay on the spot with the cart.

Sobeys Smart Cart: No waiting, no line-ups

“While products and customer eating habits have evolved, grocery shopping experience has remained relatively static for the last 100 years. This is a unique way for us to test innovative new technologies aimed at enhancing the customer shopping experience, says Mathieu Lacoursiere, VP Retail Support Sobeys Inc.

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

Equipped with AI and machine learning technology, the cart will continually evolve to improve beyond a speedy checkout. The cart’s easy-to-read screen will eventually help customers navigate the store to complete a shopping list,

In addition, it will highlight great-value promotions and make product suggestions to round out a favourite recipe.

Amazon Go: the return of brick-and-mortar?

Sobeys Canada launch follows on from the debut last year of Amazon’s first till-free store.

Amazon Go, located in Seattle, Washington, does not use cashiers. Shoppers instead scan their phones at turnstiles and Amazon charges them automatically.

In addition, sensors and cameras pick up what customers have decided to purchase. If the customer puts the item back on the shelf, it is immediately taken off the final total.

Sobeys owns or franchises more than 1,500 stores in all 10 Canadian provinces. Its brands include banners that Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, Farm Boy and Lawton’s Drug Stores.

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