Albertsons said yesterday that it has reached an agreement with technology startup Veeve that will bring that company's Smart Carts "to customers at a few dozen stores across the country. Once launched later this year, consumers will be able to use the smart carts to skip the checkout line with a fast, convenient, and contactless way to shop."
According to the announcement, "Veeve Smart Carts offer a more personalized shopping experience enabled by a touch screen that provides a running total for in-cart items and a built-in scale for easy produce purchase. The tech-enhanced carts will also integrate with the Albertsons for U™ loyalty program. Once done shopping, customers can complete payment on their cart and walk out, completely skipping the checkout line."
Veeve says that its Smart Carts "are powered by computer vision and deploy seamlessly into existing stores with no additional retrofit required. The Veeve platform integrates with existing retailer mobile apps and ad-networks."
- KC's View:
I hope that Albertsons will move from "a few dozen stores across the country" to a much broader rollout … assuming of course, this plays out the way I expect it will.
This is the kind of transformational, friction-eliminating technology that retailers need to adopt, because it has the potential of changing the way in which customers will think about the shopping experience.
I only have one small concern right now … which is that in the current environment, there is at least the possibility that the existence of such carts could communicate a high-price message to shoppers. I think Albertsons can address this; I'd make sure that somehow I communicated to shoppers that eliminating friction actually lowers prices. But I think it is something of which Albertsons and Veeve have to be cognizant.