If you live in the eastern US and happen to buy groceries at ShopRite, you might start seeing special shopping carts with little monitors attached later this year, when Microsoft and MediaCart launch a new initiative to deliver ads tied to customers' past shopping history and location in the store.

Microsoft's $6 billion acquisition of aQuantive last year shored up the company's capacity to serve video ads onto these grocery cart screens, which will also provide useful information such as the location of products within the store and personalized shopping lists. Shoppers can also use their smart carts to scan and pay for their items without waiting in the checkout line.

Using the system is optional so it should not draw objections for privacy concerns. To activate it, shoppers need to swipe a store-issued customer loyalty card in the display so that the carts know who they are. Seems like a creative and useful integration of technology. Hopefully, it'll make the shopping experience better for the consumer rather than just bombarding them with ads.