Over the past decade, the digital customer experience has changed dramatically, thanks to the advent of new technologies.
The rise of ecommerce platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba has truly disrupted traditional brick-and-mortar stores by offering a more convenient way for people to access the products they want and need. Now, consumers can simply go online and have items delivered to their doorstep with just a few clicks, while added value features such as free returns, same-day shipping, and 24/7 customer service have become the norm.
However, while the online shopping experience has evolved rapidly, the in-store shopping experience has remained relatively unchanged.
Sure, there have been some innovations here and there, such as self-checkout lanes, digital ordering and in-store pick-up, but for the most part, the grocery shopping experience functions in pretty much the same way it did 50 years ago, albeit with a few more choices.
But this looks like it could be about to change, thanks to Shopic’s smart cart technology.
Shopic is a Tel-Aviv-based startup that has developed smart cart clip-on hardware that could potentially revolutionize the way we do our grocery shopping. Essentially, the device, which is about the size of an iPad mounted on top of a grocery cart, is equipped with computer vision artificial intelligence (AI) that can scan and recognize products as they are placed in the cart.
Whereas other smart cart systems involve complete digital carts, ceiling-mounted cameras for support, or retro-fit carts with cameras and screens installed permanently, Shopic’s clip-on solution involves less up-front investment on the grocer’s part and is more user-friendly.
As a result, this nifty device is helping to digitize the in-store shopping experience by providing both the retailer and the consumer with a wealth of data that can be used to improve the overall experience. For example, the data collected by Shopic’s Smart Cart is used to provide shoppers with real-time product recommendations, and personalized coupons, and even help them navigate through the store.
Of course, shoppers can also view the running total of their carts, rather than only being confronted with the bill once they are at the register, and pay for their shopping as soon as they’re done filling their carts.
How it works
The way it works is pretty simple. When you enter the store, you take the Shopic clip-on device off the charging shelf and mount it to the top of the cart. Once that’s done, you can start browsing through the supermarket and adding items to your cart as usual.
As you do so, the Shopic device will identify the products and add them to your order total which will be displayed on the screen interface. Thanks to its innovative computer vision AI, the device is able to recognize products as they are placed into the cart. It can even register if multiple items are thrown in simultaneously, from any angle, or while the cart is in motion.
The company’s advanced approach to computer vision allows the AI to identify products easily, with less “training” than other smart carts, and when new products are introduced in stores before staff has had a chance to add them to Shopic’s system, the AI is able to learn on the fly and update all branches of the store.
The screen interface also informs consumers about promotional offers, such as multi-buy discounts, on relevant store items as they move around the store, thus providing an interactive and personalized shopping experience.
Once shoppers have completed their shopping, they can simply walk out of the store without having to go through the hassle of queuing up at the traditional checkout line. Instead, customers are able to pay through the Shopic device interface with their preferred payment method before they leave. All they need to do is simply hang up the device on the charging shelf before they leave the store.
While the technology is still in its early stages, there are already a number of potential benefits that merchants are enjoying by implementing Shopic’s smart cart solution in their stores.
For starters, it helps to reduce lines at the traditional checkout and make the shopping experience more efficient for customers. Not only does this improve customer satisfaction, but it also frees up staff to attend to other tasks in the store.
The ability to display personalized offers and recommendations as the shopper browses the store could also help to increase sales and boost customer loyalty. In fact, one case study found that Shopic’s smart cart increased shoppers’ monthly spending by 8% and increased average basket size by 78%.
Much of this success can be credited to Shopic’s targeted display logic and outcome-based optimization, which analyzes consumer responses and makes adjustments on the fly. On top of this, merchants can use personalized promotions to encourage shoppers to purchase their own brand items, or they can sell ad space.
Shopic also provides merchants with an advanced analytical dashboard that gives insights into consumer behavior, such as popular products, floor heatmaps, basket sizes, and of course, real-time inventory levels. Armed with this information, retailers can make better-informed decisions about things like product placement, promotions, and pricing, as well as optimize their store layout to further improve the customer experience.
A frictionless shopping experience
In many ways, Shopic’s new smart cart tech combines the best of both the online and offline worlds to create a frictionless shopping experience that is fast, convenient, and personalized.
For shoppers, it eliminates the need to queue up at the checkout line and gives them the freedom to browse the store at their own leisure while receiving personalized offers on their favorite items. This provides an entirely new level of convenience and efficiency to the shopping experience.
For merchants, the solution has the potential to increase sales, reduce queuing times, and free up staff to attend to other tasks in the store. If customers are shown to adopt this technology in sufficient numbers, retailers may even be able to save floor space by getting rid of some of their traditional checkout stations.
After raising $35 million in a recent Series B funding round, bringing the total investment to $56 million, the company is now looking to roll out its smart cart solution to more retailers around the world, as they continue to spearhead the next wave of digital transformation in the retail industry.
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