Caper wants to revolutionize shopping with AI-powered carts (KR, AMZN)

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Caper, which enables autonomous checkout with artificial intelligence shopping carts, has now raised a total of $3.5 million in funding, according to a press release.

Store Concept Approximate Square Footage Comparison

Its technology is currently only present in two grocery chains, but it plans to bring the carts to 150 more in 2019, expanding its reach significantly. Caper may be able to entice more retailers, as it claims the tech has raised consumers’ average basket size by 18%.

The technology currently requires consumers to scan their products as they place them in their carts, but it’s working to eliminate this step. Each shopping cart features a barcode scanner and a card reader that accepts credit cards as well as Apple and Android Pay, allowing consumers to skip waiting for a cashier, according to TechCrunch.

Caper intends to simplify the shopping experience further by using cameras and weight sensors in the carts to automatically recognize products when they’re added. This version of the shopping experience is currently being tested in parts of its two pilot stores.

Caper’s carts also feature screens that can enhance the in-store shopping experience.A screen is mounted to the front of each cart and can show shoppers what they’ve picked up so far, make recommendations based on that information, display available discounts, and show an in-store map and directions to specific products. All of this can make shopping easier and potentially lead to additional purchases.

Such high-tech carts can make a splash in the cashierless shopping industry.

  • They can be more convenient for shoppers than mobile scanning programs.Retailers including Kroger and Meijer allow consumers to scan products with their mobile devices before paying from the device at the end. This lets consumers avoid waiting in line for cashiers, but requires them to take on the labor of scanning. Caper’s carts may eventually eliminate the scanning stage completely, likely making the process more attractive for consumers.
  • Carts should be easier to implement than in-store camera networks.Setting up a store with cameras and potentially sensors to create a “just walk out” experience like Amazon Go’s can be difficult because existing stores need to be retrofitted for technology they weren’t designed to use. Likewise, it’s unclear how much adding a network of cameras from an autonomous shopping startup like Standard Cognition would cost. Both of these options are probably more expensive than investing in carts like Caper’s, which, according to CEO Lindon Gao, per TechCrunch, aren’t much more expensive than regular shopping carts. Furthermore, high-tech carts shouldn’t have the same trouble scaling as in-store camera networks since store size shouldn’t affect them, provided their technology can learn to identify large amounts of inventory.

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SEE ALSO: If we’re living through a “retail apocalypse,” why are e-commerce leaders like Amazon, Alibaba, and JD.com so focused on building brick-and-mortar stores?

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Source: Business insider

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