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Amazon has announced that it is introducing a new version of its Dash Cart that is lighter than the original version, can carry twice as many groceries, and are weather resistant so they now can be taken all the way to customers' cars.

According to the announcement, the carts "now include a delicates shelf as well as a lower shelf for oversized items … The Dash Cart screen will now display images of fresh items nearby, like produce, for shoppers to choose from, or shoppers can type in the item name (“tomato,” for example) instead of a four-digit PLU code."

The carts' technology has evolved "to more precisely determine where the cart is in the store to better show nearby products and deals. The carts feature an extended all-day battery life that requires less charging, making them even more readily available for customers."

And, for the first time, the Dash Carts will make their debut in a Whole Foods store, in Westford, Massachusetts, later this year, "followed by a few additional Whole Foods Market stores and many Amazon Fresh stores in the U.S."

CNBC notes that "the carts enable users to skip the checkout line by tracking and tallying up items as they’re placed the cart. Amazon launched the Dash Cart in September of 2020 at its Fresh grocery stores.

"The carts build on Amazon’s 'Just Walk Out' cashierless technology first deployed in Amazon Go convenience stores. They use a combination of computer vision and sensors to identify items as they’re placed in bags inside the cart. As shoppers add and remove items, a display on the cart adjusts the total price. Shoppers exit the store through a special lane, and Amazon automatically charges their credit card."

KC's View:

When I saw those carts at an Amazon Fresh store in Los Angeles, in many ways they were the most impressive part of the experience.  I've said here before that the store was at best underwhelming - it seemed like a dark store that happened to be allowing customers (and not many of them) in - the carts were terrific.  Intuitive.  Convenient.  Very smart.  And potential game changers - they represent the kind of technology that will bring some percentage of shoppers into the store.

I'll be interested to see how they work in Whole Foods … which, compared to an Amazon Fresh store, is like going to the show.