Kroger tests Caper’s “smart” basket

The Kroger Co., the largest supermarket operator in the United States, is piloting an artificial intelligence (AI) -based “smart” shopping cart from New York-based Caper Inc.

Caper announced the partnership with Kroger on Tuesday. Marked as “KroGO” by Kroger, the Caper Cart has been quietly tested at a Kroger-banner store in Cincinnati since last October. The technology allows shoppers to scan items and pay directly through the shopping cart, eliminating the need to stand in line at the checkout.

“We began testing KroGo, a new smart shopping cart powered by Caper, at a Cincinnati-area store last fall,” a Kroger spokesperson said in a statement. “KroGo gives customers a seamless shopping experience where they can scan items and pay, all in the cart. Our expansion plans will be guided by the ideas of our clients and associates.

Caper Cart uses AI and machine learning to digitize products as customers place them in the cart, which has a built-in scale for items sold by weight. A touchscreen near the cart handle displays a running count of selected items, and a connected point-of-sale card terminal allows customers to pay for their purchases directly at the cart. Buyers pack their own groceries and after payment is made, they leave the store.

In addition to tracking purchases, the cart screen can display shopping list recommendations and promotional offers, as well as provide referral capabilities, according to Caper. Buyers can also scan their loyalty card during checkout directly from the cart.

Caper Inc.

The Kroger Co. has been quietly testing the Caper Cart at a Kroger-banner store in Cincinnati since last October.

Caper noted that its smart cart offers grocery stores and other retailers a plug-and-play standalone checkout solution that doesn’t require a store modernization or operational overhaul to roll out quickly.

“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for autonomous checkout technology is pushing grocers and retailers to innovate and adopt new technologies that keep shoppers safe and streamline checkouts,” said Lindon Gao, CEO and co-founder of Caper. “We are delighted to partner with Kroger on this pilot project and look forward to obtaining valuable feedback from its clients and associates. “

The Kroger pilot marks Caper’s third deployment with a nationwide distribution chain in the past 12 months. Sobeys Inc., one of Canada’s largest food and drug retailers, launched the Caper Cart since drive technology in October 2019, while New York-based supermarket Foodcellar & Co. launched Caper Cart earlier in 2019. For small-format retailers, such as convenience stores, Caper recently introduced the Caper Counter, which encapsulates AI and the Caper Cart. product scanning capabilities in a “smart box” that provides self-checkout service for customers on the go.

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Peggy P. Gilmore