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Bottom line: After introducing cashier-less grocery shopping with the Amazon Go chain of convenience stores, the retail giant now looks to expand upon the experience with its new Dash Cart; a smart shopping trolley with built-in sensors and cameras that automatically scan items being put inside or removed, display them on an interactive touchscreen and then allows customers to skip the cashier by completing their purchase digitally through a special checkout lane. The first of these smart trolleys will appear in Amazon's conventional grocery store in Los Angeles when it opens later this year.
The supermarket trolley remains an indispensable tool for grocery shopping, which Amazon is now reimagining with its high-tech, sturdier-looking Dash Cart. The smart trolley is essentially Amazon's Go cashier-free experience on wheels and is packed with weight sensors and cameras that are used to identify items and will charge customers as they make their way to the checkout.
Using a Dash Cart will feel similar to those who've experienced Amazon Go. The process involves signing into your Amazon account and scanning a QR code with the Amazon app to link and activate the cart. It will then recognize traditionally packaged items as they are put inside or removed from the cart, and display the customer's shopping list on the front-mounted touchscreen.
Meanwhile, those shopping for fresh produce like fruits or veggies will need to enter a four-digit code on the display, specify the quantity for each item and then weigh it on the cart's in-built scales. Customers can also redeem coupons with the onboard scanner, while the cart itself will only have enough space to fit two filled shopping bags.
"We built this predominantly as an alternative to things like express checkout, where you still end up waiting in line, or fumbling with self-checkout machines," said Dilip Kumar, Amazon's VP of physical retail and technology. He also added that the Dash Cart has been made to withstand the rough use and abuse of grocery shopping with sturdily built wheels that won't shake or go off-balance as is usually the case.
Although Amazon began selling its cashier-free technology to other retailers earlier this year, there's no word yet on whether it'll do the same for Dash Carts. The first batch of these smart trolleys is set to roll out at the company's grocery store in Woodland Hills, LA. Unlike the company's cashier-free Go stores, this outlet will feature conventional checkout and cashier-free lanes, making it an ideal testing environment for its new smart cart.