Kroger is testing its first artificial intelligence-driven shopping cart in the Cincinnati area. The pilot program may determine whether the new technology will be implemented in stores across the country.
The national grocery store chain partnered with Caper to create “KroGo,” a shopping cart with a built-in scanner and payment system for a no-contact shopping experience.
The smart cart was first introduced at Kroger’s Madeira location and has many features that could eliminate shopping barriers for customers. The cart’s touchscreen displays a list of all items in the cart with an updating total to allow shoppers to easily keep track of their budget. If a customer removes or adds an item, the cart’s list will automatically update.
The touchscreen will also disclose promotional offers and shopping recommendations.
KroGo can also locate items in the store, and it has a scale for products—such as produce and deli items—sold by weight.
Some items cannot be purchased via KroGo such as gift cards, behind-the-counter pharmacy items, paper coupons or tobacco products.
Customers will have to bring their own reusable shopping bags or purchase those at the store to use the smart cart.
Only credit and debit cards are accepted by KroGo; the smart cart cannot accept cash or check. Customers can still use their loyalty cards.
Once the customer has finished shopping, they are directed to return the cart back to the lobby and leave with their newly purchased groceries.
According to Caper’s representatives in a blog post, this technology will help grocery stores remain safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the shopper and the Kroger employee are able to remain socially distanced during the entire in-store shopping experience with minimal to no contact, Caper reps say.
Kroger began piloting the new feature since October of last year, and they have not yet released a statement on whether more stores will utilize KroGo.