Revolutionary Smart Carts: The Cutting-Edge Solution for Grocery Stores Today

**Smart Carts: The Solution for Supermarkets to Improve the Shopping Experience and Regain Market Share**

Smart carts are an innovative solution that could revolutionize the supermarket and grocery store industry. With the rise of e-commerce and competition from other retail formats, traditional grocery stores have seen a decline in market share. However, smart carts have the potential to attract shoppers, improve the shopping experience, and help retailers retain their customer base.

**The Decline of Supermarkets and Grocery Stores**

According to Coresight Research, the market share of grocery stores has dropped from 69.7% in 2017 to 66.6% in 2022. This decline is significant considering the estimated market size of $1.5 trillion in 2022. Other retail formats, such as mass merchants, warehouse clubs, and discount/dollar stores, have seen an increase in market share.

Shoppers are turning away from traditional grocery stores due to factors such as rising prices and the time required for shopping. The average consumer shops for groceries about eight times per month, spending an average of $156 and spending around 40 minutes each time they visit the store. As a result, shoppers are exploring alternative retail formats that offer lower prices and greater convenience.

**Challenges Faced by Grocery Stores**

Grocery stores have attempted to adapt to changing consumer preferences by expanding their private label offerings, investing in online platforms, and introducing self-checkout options. However, these measures have not been entirely successful in improving the shopping experience.

Buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) has seen a decline in usage from 45% to 32% in 2021. This decline can be attributed to the disappointment of shoppers with the quality of items selected for them. Self-checkout stands have also proven to be problematic, with 67% of customers experiencing difficulties when using them. Additionally, self-checkout contributes to shrinkage and places the burden of cashier work on the customer.

While scan-and-go technology, where customers scan product barcodes on their phone, was introduced as an alternative, it has faced its own set of challenges. Walmart and Wegmans, for example, encountered problems with scan-and-go implementation, leading to its discontinuation or limited availability.

**Smart Carts: The Ideal Solution**

Smart carts have emerged as a promising solution for improving the shopping experience and addressing the challenges faced by grocery stores. These AI-powered carts allow shoppers to bypass checkout lines and provide a seamless and convenient shopping experience.

Unlike other technologies that require retrofitting the entire store, smart carts integrate cameras and sensors directly into the cart. Shoppers have access to a video display that shows the items in their cart and provides a running tally. This technology also supports retail media displays, allowing retailers to promote location-based offers and suggestions to enhance the shopping experience.

**Different Smart Cart Options**

There are two main versions of smart carts available in the market. The first option is a full-cart option, which requires retailers to invest in new technologically-advanced carts. These carts come equipped with built-in weighing scales for produce, offering added convenience to shoppers. However, the cost of implementing full-cart options can be high.

The second option is a clip-on device that shoppers can attach to the retailer’s existing shopping cart. While this option sacrifices the convenience of built-in weighing scales, it is a more cost-effective solution for retailers. Shoppers can scan barcodes from the produce department’s scales using the clip-on device.

**Leading Players in the Smart Cart Revolution**

Several companies are at the forefront of the smart cart revolution, offering innovative solutions to retailers:

1. Veeve and Albertson’s: Veeve, founded by ex-Amazon engineers, has partnered with Albertson’s to deploy smart carts in a few dozen stores. Veeve has also worked with Kroger, Safeway, Metropolitan Markets, and Tom Thumb. Smart-cart powered stores have seen an increase in basket size by 73% and a reduction in shopping time to 24 minutes.

2. Caper AI and Schnucks: Caper AI, part of Instacart’s Connected Store business, offers the Caper Cart smart cart. The built-in Caper Cart scale can accurately recognize weights down to .01 pounds. Kroger, Sobeys, and Schnucks are among the retailers piloting Caper Carts.

3. Shopic and Shufersal: Israel-based Shopic and the Shufersal supermarket chain have implemented smart cart technology on a commercial-scale. Shufersal has deployed 2,000 Shopic smart cart clip-on units across 30 stores, resulting in increased revenues, larger basket sizes, and improved customer satisfaction.

**Benefits of Smart Carts**

Smart carts offer numerous benefits to both shoppers and retailers. For shoppers, they provide a seamless and convenient checkout experience, eliminating the frustration of waiting in line. They also offer personalized recommendations and promotions based on the items in the cart. Retailers benefit from increased basket size, reduced shopping time, and improved customer satisfaction.

**The Future of Smart Carts**

While smart carts have the potential to transform the grocery store industry, widespread consumer adoption is yet to be proven. However, early deployments and positive results from retailers such as Shufersal indicate that smart carts could be the solution that traditional grocery stores need to attract and retain shoppers in an increasingly competitive market.

**Innovative Solutions for the Grocery Store Industry**

Smart carts have emerged as an innovative solution to improve the shopping experience and regain market share for supermarkets and grocery stores. By providing a seamless and convenient checkout experience, smart carts have the potential to attract shoppers and address the challenges faced by traditional grocery stores. With the support of leading players in the industry, smart carts could revolutionize the way we shop for groceries in the future.

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