Sobeys Launches Smart Carts With Auto Checkout

The Canadian grocer’s pilot program eliminates the checkout line with carts that scan/weigh products.

November 06, 2019

STELLARTON, Nova Scotia—At Sobeys, customers can simply leave the store after placing all the items in their shopping cart without going through checkout. The Canadian grocery chain has debuted a pilot program of 10 Smart Carts that scan and weigh products as shoppers put them into the basket, reports the Washington Post.

The shopping carts have touchscreens that keep tabs on the basket contents, keeping a running total and providing the means for payment at the cart to complete the trip. The new technology allows customers to scan and bag items as they move through the store.

“While products and customer eating habits have evolved, the in-store grocery shopping experience has remained relatively static for the last 100 years,” said Mathieu Lacoursiere, vice president for retail support for Sobeys. “This is a unique way for us to test innovative new technologies aimed at enhancing the customer shopping experience and learn how best to make it faster and easier. The carts will also give our in-store teammates more time to interact with customers and answer questions about food and new products.”

This year, Kroger has introduced “Scan, Bag, Go” along with autonomous delivery vehicles. Other grocers dabbling in automatic checkout and services include Walmart and Giant Eagle.

“We see customers pushing the envelope in the grocery industry and in our business in particular,” said Yael Cosset, Kroger’s chief digital officer. “Sometimes that means delivery, and sometimes it’s pickup, and sometimes someone wants to walk into the store. It doesn’t matter to us if you’re engaging with us through voice, mobile or web—we know you and your purchase history no matter what the touchpoint is.”