Smart Shopping Cart Automates Payments in Grocery Stores

Published: February 21, 2024

Cust2Mate has released its RFID-enabled 3.0 intelligent shopping cart and is taking orders from supermarkets to provide intelligence for shoppers—from product recommendations to self-checkout at the cart.

Smart shopping carts are taking the next step to making the experience for customers more seamless and allowing for upselling by retailers.

Retailer technology company Cust2Mate has released the latest version of its Smart Shopping platform technology for connected shopping featuring carts that include linking customers to store content and enable self- payments. With the solution, shoppers can select goods from shelves, view content and recommendations related to those selections, and checkout.

The Cust2Mate 3.0 smart cart platform centers around an attachable touch screen with built in sensors, processor and wireless connectivity. The unit has multiple features that identify products, as well as the location of the cart within the store.

In that way the attachable panel acts as a shopping assistant for individuals as they go about the store, explained Guy Mordoch, Cust2Mate’s CEO.

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Early Adoption by Yochananof Grocery

Cust2Mate is an Israel-based technology company, with an office in the U.S., whose previous solution—the Smart Cart 2.5—is already deployed at supermarkets such as Yochananof.

One of the largest retailers in Israel, Yochananof already uses 1,300 smart carts in multiple stores. The Smart Cart 2.5 platform provides intelligence for the retailer and shopper, but must remain in the store.

The 3.0 version brings the same intelligence to brick-and-mortar stores, says Mordoch, but in the form of a detachable panel that fixes onto a store’s existing carts, and can be removed from them at the end of each shopping journey.

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By making the panel mobile, the system now allows shoppers to take their cart out of stores to their cars once they have completed their payments and left the panel behind at a designated charging port.

The 3.0 panel comes along with a security scale that is installed on every cart which weighs products as they are placed in it. The panel itself includes a 13.3 inch screen, built in Wi-Fi connectivity, a UHF RFID reader, barcode scanner and AI computer vision technology camera.

Targeting Shoppers in Store

For retailers using the technology, the system will provide shoppers with an enhanced experience in their store. Using a cart with the panel attached to the handle, the panel’s Wi-Fi connectivity enables the system software to identify approximately where in the store the cart is. The retailer can view each cart’s status and location in real time or for analytics.

For the shopper, the screen on the panel provides content relevant to where they are and what products they are browsing through.

This offers the retailer the chance to communicate with the shopper and offer promotions in real time, such as a bag of chips in the snack aisle or a jar of salsa once the chips have been selected.

Tracking Purchases

Each time the shopper opts to buy a product, they scan its barcode with the panel’s built-in scanner, and place it in the cart.

If the item is high value the store will typically have applied a UHF RFID tag to it, encoded with a unique ID that matches the product serial number. That provides another layer of security to confirm the product being purchased is correct.

In fact, says Mordoch, “We have five layers of security,” which consist of the barcode scan, the product’s weight, an RFID tag read for high value items, as well as data from the AI camera, and, lastly, a software layer to determine whether there is any unexpected behavior.

Frictionless Shopping

When the shopper is finished, they can be anywhere in the store, and simply select a prompt to pay for their products. They then provide their payment information, complete the transaction and walk to the store’s exit.

At that door they remove the panel unit from the cart, place it on a recharging wall and continue to their car. There is no standing in line for a cashier.

“You just walk out with the cart all the way to your car,” Mordoch said.

Theft Protection

The system is designed to detect and address problems that could occur as well.

For instance, if a shopper pays for their goods, then places another item in their cart, the system identifies that action and can send an alert to sales managers.

With the use of Bluetooth technology, the system can even identify when the shopper’s panel approaches the door with their unpurchased item and trigger the cart’s wheels to lock, or the exit gate to close.

“We allow the retailer to configure how they want to deal with people that might be trying to steal,” Mordoch said. “Either they can stop the shopping journey in the middle and send somebody to deal with them, or they can just wait for the checkout.”

A third option is to wait to respond only if they are attempting to leave the store. “This is something which we can configure with the retailer,” he said.

Producing Panels in Volume

The company is now taking orders for the 3.0 solution. Retailers ordering the carts are located in the Middle East, North America, Asia-Pacific and Europe. Yochananof is ordering 1,300 more units to replace the existing smart carts, as well as about 2,000 additional panels to enable more do-it-yourself shopping.

“We are in the process of moving to mass production so we can actually fulfill all these orders,” Mordoch said.

There are multiple benefits to retailers adopting the solution, including larger sales due to upselling to customers while they are onsite, based on their location and shopping behavior.

“We provide a retail media platform that allows the retailer to bring more advertisement to the cart and to add the personalization and location-based capabilities,” said Mordoch.

Greater Sales

Based on upselling opportunities, Cust2Mate reports that the average filled-basket size is up to 60 percent higher than it is in the self-checkout or regular cashier line.

Another gain Mordoch points to is the ability boosts customer satisfaction and loyalty because of the more seamless purchasing experience. And the technology is promoted as reduce labor requirements.

The company has found that every 50 smart carts or panels installed in a store reduced the number of checkout lines by between two and three. By reducing cashier lines, stores have more real estate free for inventory on store shelves.

Shopping Connectivity

The technology is aimed at connecting the online or the “e-commerce” shopping experience with the brick-and-mortar stores.

Users can create a shopping list on a store’s site or in an app and once they are signed in at the store, using the cart’s panel, the technology will guide them to products they need.

Key Takeaways:
  • Smart shopping cart leverages RFID, barcodes and camera intelligence as well as Wi-Fi for connectivity and location detection.
  • With the technology, stores can provide a self-service experience for shoppers, while selling more products and gaining analytics about shopper behavior, according to Cust2Mate.