A Kiwi retailer is showing up its Aussie counterparts by trialling a cutting-edge technology that will ultimately do away with checkouts and customer queues.
In a similar trial to that by Amazon in the US that recently grabbed headlines worldwide, New Zealand supermarket chain Foodstuffs is trialling a new artificial intelligence technology embedded into its shopping trolleys and baskets.
The technology called SMARTCART, developed by New Zealand company IMAGR, uses computer vision to recognise items as they are put into the basket or trolley, effectively scanning and charging the customer on the spot.
Shoppers can activate the technology by downloading an app and linking a payment method to their account.
Initial trials will be focused on a store in suburban Auckland, but it is expected to be rolled out more broadly.
“We’re committed to giving Kiwi shoppers the best service, experiences and innovation. This technology will give consumers more options, reduced wait times and variety during their store visits, giving our staff more time to offer their advice and help in other ways,” Foodstuffs North Island CIO Peter Muggleston said.
According to IMAGR’s founder William Chomley, retailers in Australia and other countries around the globe are also in talks to take up the technology, in a bid to make bricks and mortar retail rival the efficiencies of online shopping.
“Personalisation and convenience are becoming industry norms [and] bricks and mortar is no exception; people want ease of access to products and to bypass queues,” said Mr Chomley.
“We’re focused on creating a hyper-personalised in-store experience that also includes an ‘alternative’ method for checking out. SMARTCART provides another payment solution to retailers’ normal checkout and self-service offerings.”
He said IMAGR is working towards a goal of having at least three of the world’s leading retailers using the technology by 2022.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.
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