Amazon says it has built a better smart shopping cart
Amazon.com has introduced the newest version of its Dash Cart, a smart shopping cart that enables customers to skip a store’s physical checkouts and go right out the door. The retail and technology giant says this next-generation cart includes a number of enhancements that will make it easier and more convenient to shop.
Dilip Kumar, VP physical retail and technology at Amazon, writing on a company blog says the new carts are lighter than the previous version and are able to hold twice as many shopping bags as before (four compared to two). The carts have an added “delicates shelf” and a lower shelf for oversized packages.
“We doubled the capacity of the cart while maintaining the ability to quickly measure produce weight for certified accuracy and price,” wrote Mr.Kumar. “Consider stepping onto a scale, which usually takes a few moments to stabilize and produce a final weight. The Dash Cart stabilizes nearly instantly — we’ve created algorithms that can determine signal from noise, like the cart moving through the store (noise), so it can calculate weight (signal) without asking shoppers to stop the cart.”
The new Dash Cart is now weatherproof, which means customers can wheel it out to their cars.
“To test durability, we baked the technology in an oven and froze test carts in a giant freezer to ensure they would survive harsh weather conditions. We also dropped heavy weights into test carts’ baskets more than 100,000 times to ensure they would remain usable after impact — needless to say, we feel confident the Dash Cart is durable,” wrote Mr. Kumar.
Shoppers will see images of nearby items on the screens of their carts as they shop along with messages about the products and special deals. Amazon said it has “evolved” the ability of the carts to determine where they are located within the store.
The carts’ battery-life has also been extended, which cuts down on the amount of time they spend charging and make them more available for customer use.
Mr. Kumar said that the new Dash Cart, which has been available to customers in Amazon Fresh stores, will also be deployed in the coming months at a Whole Foods located in Westford, MA. Amazon intends to continue offering the technology at its new Fresh stores and plans more deployments at Whole Foods, as well.
- The next evolution of the Dash Cart: New features and expansion to first Whole Foods Market Store – Amazon.com
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What are the reasons that motivate people to use — and to not use — smart carts when they shop? Has Amazon built a better smart shopping cart?