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Smart Carts Expand Even as Shoppers Demand More Traditional Self-Checkout

grocery smart cart

Smart shopping carts are expanding to more grocery chains, even as those that try to rely solely on the technology for self-checkout are finding that many consumers would rather stick with more traditional methods.

Take, for instance, French grocery giant Carrefour. A2Z Smart Technologies Corp’s flagship smart cart product, Cust2Mate recently announced a partnership with the grocer to supply 2,000 carts, expected to arrive in the first half of next year.

In an interview earlier this year with PYMNTS, Cust2Mate CEO Guy Mordoch noted that the company sees a 30% increase in average basket size when shoppers use smart carts over regular shopping carts. He added that, down the line, Cust2Mate will be able to generate “insights that are driven from data,” as well as to run “advertisements and retail media on the cart” based on that data.

In the United States, meanwhile, Geissler’s Supermarkets, an IGA retailer with locations in Connecticut and Massachusetts, recently announced a partnership with Instacart to introduce smart Caper Carts to all seven of its stores. These smart carts, powered by artificial intelligence (AI), will gradually replace the traditional shopping carts.

“We see clearly the value that Caper Carts bring to our customers and our business, in the short and long term. At launch, they’ll reduce lines and congestion while freeing up store associates to focus more on customer support,” Bob Rybick, President and CEO of Geissler’s Supermarkets and IGA Retailer Advisory Board Chairman, said in a statement. “More engaging experiences drive larger basket sizes and repeat customers, and we see even more possibilities long term.”

The move comes as part of Instacart’s broader push to expand these carts in an effort to gain a foothold in the brick-and-mortar grocery space, connecting digital and physical experiences.

“We believe that [the smart cart] provides a really great opportunity to take all of the strength of online advertising and bring it to the store, because Caper Carts have a screen on which you can do very measurable, very personalized, very dynamic advertising and really blend the best of online and the best of offline,” Instacart Chairman and CEO Fidji Simo told analysts Wednesday (Nov. 8), on the company’s first earnings call since going public.

Yet some consumers remain hesitant about the technology. Amazon, for its part, has been returning to offering more traditional self-checkout locations at its Fresh stores, as the eCommerce giant noted Thursday (Nov. 9). These offer an alternative self-service option for those who are not comfortable with its smart carts yet, and the move comes as the eCommerce giant retools its brick-and-mortar grocery format in an effort to boost performance.

Overall, the majority of grocers not the need for self-service offerings. PYMNTS Intelligence’s study “Big Retail’s Innovation Mandate: Convenience and Personalization,” created in collaboration with ACI Worldwide and drawing from a survey of 300 retailers across the United States and the United Kingdom, revealed 60% of grocers think consumers would be very or extremely likely to switch merchants if not offered self-service kiosks. Plus, 40% said the same of the ability to scan products and pay without standing in line.