Instacart to roll out smart carts after acquiring manufacturer

Instacart has acquired smart cart manufacturer Caper AI for $350 million as it gears up for the future of shopping after the pandemic.

The US grocer has said it will integrate the technology into its app and ecommerce sites of some of its partners over time to create a unique shopping experience.

Instacart hopes the acquisition will streamline shopping for consumers will making it easier for workers to fulfil orders.

Caper’s cart uses AI technology to power cameras and weight sensors that recognise which items have been placed in the cart without having to scam or weigh them.

The cart also offers an interactive in-store shopping experience with touch-enabled screens that are able to offer basket-based recommendations and nearby deals.

Customers are also able to pay through the cart, eradicating the need to visit a checkout as autonomous grocery shopping gathers speed.

READ MORE: The Body Shop partners with Instacart for same day delivery

“As we look ahead, we’re focused on creating even more ways for retailers to develop unified commerce offerings that help address consumer needs across both online and in-store shopping,” Instacart chief executive Fidji Simo said.

Caper plans to add smart location sensors to let consumers search items and get guided to certain items in-store using mapping technology.

Instacart workers already have access to this tech.

Caper’s smart carts were the first carts in the U.S. to get approval by the federal government’s National Type Evaluation Program, certifying they can accurately sell products that are priced according to weight and measures.

Instacart hopes that the acquisition of Caper and its technology will make it faster and easier for customers and its workers to make purchases at grocery and convenience stores of all sizes.

The grocer claims that the technology increases the average basket size compared to traditional shopping carts and says it will work towards efficiencies of scale with Caper to reduce the cost of hardware production, making the carts more affordable for its partners.

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