Amazon today introduced the Amazon Dash Cart, a “smart shopping cart” that uses weight sensors and cameras to let you scan your items as you place them in the cart so you can skip the checkout line. According to CNET:
“Our primary motivation for building this was to be able to save customers time,” said Dilip Kumar, vice president of Amazon’s physical retail and technology. “The alternative solutions are standing in the express checkout lanes or fumbling through self-checkout stations.”
Dash Carts will debut at Amazon’s Woodland Hills, California, grocery store, when the location opens later this year. The company last November unveiled plans for the Woodland Hills store as the first location for a new supermarket chain that will be separate from its Whole Foods chain. The store will include conventional checkout lanes, too.
The new shopping cart, which Kumar says is built sturdy enough to prevent those annoying shaky and off-balance wheels, is part of Amazon’s continued work to put its techie signature on the $1.2 trillion US grocery market. It introduced Amazon Go in 2016 and Amazon Go Grocery, a larger store format that includes fresh produce, in February. There’s been plenty of speculation that Amazon will add similar hardware into Whole Foods, which it purchased in 2017, but that has yet to happen.
It’s clear Amazon is trying to eliminate as much friction as possible between them and your money. I didn’t even know checkout lines were causing me to spend less, but Amazon’s data says they do so they must. It’s probably just a matter of time before Amazon skips the middleman that is your brain completely and starts randomly sending you things you might want. I’m kind of joking, but with their return policy, this actually seems like a viable business model for them.