Albertsons is deploying grocery shopping carts in some of its locations to try to make personal shopping easier when consumers return to regular stores.
The stroller is made by Veeve, a startup from Seattle, founded by two former senior Amazon managers in 2018. Veeve is one of several companies that develop smart grocery carts that often use cameras and sensors to count items when shoppers pick them up from the shelf and place them in the cart, allowing shoppers to skip the queue at the checkout.
Amazon launched its own product called Dash Carts in 2020, and the Instacart product delivery platform was acquired late last year by smart cart maker Caper AI. Other grocers, including Kroger, tested the technology at several stores.
They are responding to consumer demand as store purchases bounce off the coronavirus pandemic. A Mastercard SpendingPulse report said in-store sales were up 10% in April from a year earlier, and e-commerce transactions were down 1.8%. Smart strollers offer a hybrid approach, allowing shoppers to speed up the process with their phones.
In November, Albertsons began testing Veeve strollers at two of its stores in Idaho and California. Now the company is expanding its partnership and adding strollers to more locations, with the goal of placing them in dozens of stores. As of December last year, Albertsons had 2,278 grocery and drugstore stores in the United States.
“Customer feedback and benefits will be important in determining future investments, including the expansion of smart carts and other technology offerings,” said Chris Rapp, lead customer and director of digital format at Albertsons.
The challenge for Veeve and its competitors is proving to retailers that strollers, which are reported to cost between $ 5,000 and $ 10,000 each, are a profitable investment. They also need to convince shoppers to use them, a problem Amazon has struggled with after adding its Dash Carts to some Fresh supermarkets, Business Insider reports.
Veeve CEO Sharik Sidiki said in an interview that the seizure was strong. For retailers, Siddiki said technology can help them cope with labor shortages by freeing up cashiers to perform other roles.
“Stores are closing sooner than ever, just because they have so many staff,” said Siddiki, who spent eight years at Amazon, primarily at Alexa. “One of the stores in which we have deployed is completely autonomous. There is a big impetus in this direction.”
Rapp said the work would not be affected by the addition of more Veeve strollers to Albertsons stores. “For many shoppers, a great in-store experience depends heavily on the interaction and support from our incredible in-store teams,” she added.
The company also found that the size of the basket in terms of units purchased and the amount in dollars was much higher than that of people using self-cash. Siddiki predicts that Veeve may increase the size of the basket to make it “bigger, if not more valuable than a cash register,” where the average transaction is about $ 200.
“Utilization has been very high and that’s what retailers care about,” Siddiki said. “If customers use it the first time, they’ll come back.”
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Albertsons is deploying smart food carts from Veeve, a former Amazon engineer
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