Amazon wants into grocery in a big way, a fact made evident by both buying Whole Foods Market and creating small-scale automated shopping stores. Now it’s back with a new take on automation. Rather than fill a store with cameras or sensors, it turned a grocery cart into a mobile self-checkout station.
The idea behind the cart is pretty simple, and you may have already done something like it. Many grocery stores offer a self-checkout option now. Instead of going through a traditional lane, you go to a self-checkout lane and scan and bag your groceries. But that takes time, and you may still end up in a line.
So Amazon packed a lot of the same tech into a grocery cart. First, add up to two bags to the cart. Log in with your Amazon account by using your phone to pair to the cart. Then, grab items with barcodes and hold it over the cart until it beeps to confirm a scan.
If you want to buy any fruit or vegetables, you can plug in a PLU number, and the cart will weigh your food. It sounds almost exactly like self-checkout, only you scan as you go. A display on the handle lists the things you’ve added to your cart and lets you add coupons.
When you finish shopping, you’ll leave in a special “Dash Lane” that tells the grocery cart to charge your account. The main downside is the size of the cart. It’s large enough to fit two canvas bags, but that’s it. You won’t complete a large shopping trip.
But if you want to get it and out as fast as possible, Amazon’s Dash Cart sounds like the way to go. Amazon says you’ll see Dash Carts in a new store opening in Los Angeles later this year.