Retailers Expand Smart Cart Adoption to Boost Self-Checkout and Lower Theft

 March 26, 2024

Across continents, more retailers are adopting smart carts to lower their labor costs without driving up shrink.

Instacart and Associated Wholesale Growers (AWG) shared Monday (March 25) that they have expanded their partnership to offer more direct access to the former’s eCommerce and same-day delivery solutions across the latter’s member retailers. The offerings include Instacart’s artificial intelligence-powered Caper Cart self-checkout carts, bringing the collaboration to 2,300 more AWG member retailer locations.

Meanwhile, A2Z Smart Technologies Corp. announced Friday (March 22) the first deployment of its Cust2Mate 3.0 smart carts, scheduled to go live in April in Israel’s Yochananof supermarket chain, with France’s Monoprix and the United States’ Morton Williams to follow.

Cust2Mate CEO Guy Mordoch told PYMNTS last year that the company sees a 30% increase in average basket size when shoppers use smart carts over regular shopping carts.

As retailers look to unify their digital and brick-and-mortar presences, smart carts can help bridge the gap. For instance, these carts can gather data on customer behavior, such as purchasing patterns, popular products and peak shopping times, much as eCommerce channels can track engagement. Retailers can analyze this data to gain insights into customer preferences and optimize their merchandising strategies, pricing and inventory management.

Moreover, by understanding individual shopping habits and preferences, retailers can deliver targeted marketing campaigns and personalized promotions to customers across digital and physical channels. This tailored approach can increase customer engagement, loyalty and sales.

Plus, smart carts streamline the shopping process by enabling customers to scan items as they shop, reducing the need for traditional checkout counters while mitigating some of the risks posed by other methods of self-checkout. Specifically, smart carts equipped with sensors and security features can help retailers combat theft and shrinkage while still reaping the operational benefits of self-checkout.

According to Caper, its cart has “anti-theft” features, equipped with “tools to help prevent shrink.” Plus, Cust2Mate claims to work against “the growing shrinkage epidemic” with features such as “computer vision, RFID and AI anomaly behavior detection” in addition to the standard-issue scanning and weight sensor capabilities.

These moves to expand smart cart adoption come as retailers are forced to pivot away from traditional self-checkout kiosks amid widespread losses.

Still, retailers see a strong need for self-checkout solutions. PYMNTS Intelligence research from 2022 found that 60% of U.S. retailers saw self-service kiosks as being key to shopper loyalty, and 40% said the same about the ability to scan products and pay without standing in line.

Many consumers also seek out these kinds of in-store digital technologies, such that these kinds of digital upgrades can improve their shopping experience. PYMNTS Intelligence’s study “2024 Global Digital Shopping Index: The Rise of the Click-and-Mortar™ Shopper and What It Means for Merchants” found that 25% of consumers are digitally assisted in-store shoppers, using technology to improve their brick-and-mortar experiences.

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