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Samsung offers Amazon alternative with smart grocery shopping


The Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled retail landscape continues evolving with the launch of what could be called a “fridge commerce” (or “f-commerce”) solution by Samsung.

After months of hype, the Samsung Family Hub connected fridge is officially available. The interactive device includes a number of features that streamline the digital grocery process.

A 21.5-inch LCD touchscreen on the front of the fridge seamlessly connects to a consumer’s smartphone, allowing direct Web access. Three internal cameras positioned inside the fridge can send photos of what’s inside to a smartphone app.

Of particular interest to retailers, Family Hub also directly connects to the Instacart on-demand grocery delivery service. It also comes preloaded with the Groceries by MasterCard app, which allows consumers to share, build, manage and modify their grocery lists and shopping carts throughout the week.

Customers can shop and select items from online grocer and integration partner FreshDirect, and supermarket cooperative ShopRite. Items are added to a cart and the final shopping list is approved with a four-digit pin, providing control over household purchases. Items are then paid for in a single checkout experience that accepts any U.S.-issued credit and debit cards. The Groceries shopping cart will also learn a family’s shopping habits, making personalized suggestions on items and brands. New features will continue to roll out, including recipe and video integration.

Other retail-relevant features include access to the Allrecipes digital recipe platform, as well as cooking advice tips and how-to videos Users can also compile and keep track of their grocery lists, which seamlessly sync between fridge and smartphone. And using the fridge screen or their smartphone, consumers can drag and drop expiration dates to the image of items inside to know what needs to be used, and by when.

Samsung is moving into a smart device-enabled home shopping vertical that is currently dominated by Amazon, through devices such as Dash buttons and the Echo voice-activated device. Although only a few retailers and other online and payment partners are so far integrated into the Family Hub environment, its launch is a sign that Amazon cannot expect to be the only major player in this still-new consumer channel.

“We saw an opportunity to introduce a refrigerator that redefines the category – a refrigerator that goes beyond storage and one that brought the center of your kitchen into the digital age,” said John Herrington, senior VP, general manager of home appliance, Samsung Electronics America. “We’re excited to debut the Family Hub refrigerator and the great new possibilities it brings as part of Samsung’s commitment to deliver meaningful innovations to the home.”

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