As Amazon continues moving into the brick-and-mortar grocery space, Kroger is taking the omnichannel giant on in the smart device arena.
Kroger is piloting a smart cart known as “KroGo” in its Madeira, Ohio store. Based on technology from self-checkout shopping cart provider Caper, KroGo features a built-in scale and camera, designed to provide an easier shopping experience with less contact and faster checkout.
Amazon introduced a similar smart cart called Amazon Dash Cart for its Amazon Fresh brick-and-mortar grocery format in July 2020. Leveraging a combination of computer vision algorithms and sensor fusion to identify items customers put in the cart and connecting directly to customer Amazon accounts, Dash Cart streamlines the shopping experience a bit further by enabling automatic payment.
Customers using KroGo place their reusable bags in the cart and weigh them before beginning shopping. Loyalty members can scan their card from the cart to automatically have fuel points earned and digital coupons redeemed. Shoppers then scan and bag each item as they shop, weighing produce directly on the cart.
When they have scanned and bagged all their items, customers can pay on the cart via credit or debit card and exit via the self-checkout area. Before final purchase, customers can remove items they have changed their mind about buying. Currently, KroGo carts cannot be used to purchase gift cards, behind-the-counter pharmacy items, paper coupons or tobacco products; or for purchases made via cash, check, EBT, or WIC payment.
KroGo is the latest in a series of efforts Kroger has made to become more of a leading-edge technology platform as both Amazon and Walmart increasingly pivot into grocery. Other efforts include the integration of digital marketplace platform Mirakl into its ship-to-home program, as well as launching several programs to open its customer base to CPG advertisers and developing advanced customer fulfillment centers (CFCs) with automated technology from U.K.-based online grocer Ocado.