Amazon just amped up its new grocery store in Woodland Hills, California. Dash Carts are a new type of shopping cart equipped with an embedded camera, sensor, and smart display that automatically track each item put into it. The carts use Amazon Alexa to curate a shopping list based on every item placed in the cart. Shopping list functionality is the feature most valued by grocery shoppers, according to a Gartner report on the topic, so adopting the tool could help Amazon further bridge the digital and physical shopping experience. When shoppers use a Dash Cart at Amazon’s grocery store, they can then skip the checkout line, instead moving through a specified exit lane that charges their Amazon account once their shopping bags are removed.
The idea behind Amazon’s Dash Carts is similar to what drove the company to create its Amazon Go convenience stores: a cashierless checkout experience. By rolling out shopping carts with automated checkout capabilities, Amazon can further set itself apart from other grocers and continue building up its brick and mortar presence in the industry. The Dash Carts will be exclusive to Amazon members, who will use a QR code located on the Amazon app to activate a cart at the store. The carts also contain a screen where shoppers can enter details such as produce item numbers or scan coupons. The screen can also help shoppers keep track of their items, including making sure each item has been accounted for or alternately removed if a shopper decides to put something back on the shelf.
With so many items available at grocery stores, Amazon’s new Dash Carts could simplify and quicken the once-cumbersome checkout process. Amazon has already made strides in modernizing some of the most tedious processes in the world. By adding a tech element to the humble shopping cart, Amazon could create a new type of grocery shopping experience that appeals to customers in the age of social distancing and beyond.