Amazon is all set to launch a new type of shopping cart, dubbed Dash Carts, that take cashier-less shopping to a whole new level. The smart carts will reportedly land this year in California and will make shopping far more convenient. That's because they're designed to begin tallying up items as they're added to bags.
Those bags are already included in the carts and the feature is, of course, driven by AI. When customers place an item in the cart, the cost is calculated to include any coupons. For produce and other by-weight items, a built-in scale performs the requisite calculation. Users simply need to type the item's four-digit code. And, for per-item prices on produce, that simply needs to be accompanied by the number purchased.
Dash Carts are set to change how users shop but is this better?
Now, the biggest drawback to the new Dash Carts seems to be that users need an Amazon account and card to take advantage of the system. They'll also need to pull out their phone and scan a QR code on the cart to get started. But Dash Carts should still make the process of shopping more convenient and faster.
The carts, designed to look like a fairly standard shopping cart, are a completely new take on cashier-less shopping. Not only are they different from previous technologies used at Amazon's own locations. They are far removed from the self-scanning solutions on offer at other major retailers. And not just because there's no self-scanning involved beyond the initial QR code.
Checkout is automatic but the new carts eliminate the need to manually track costs too. The total price is displayed on the cart, allowing shoppers to keep track as they go without pulling out their smartphone, a calculator, or doing complex math.
To check out, users simply navigate the Dash Cart through a designated lane. The credit card associated with the linked Amazon account is charged. Customers receive an email with a copy of their receipt.
Where and when, exactly, is this launching?
Amazon hasn't provided exact details with regard to when this technology will land in stores. But, to begin with, the company is effectively trialing the Dash Carts at its upcoming Amazon grocery store in L.A.
The store is expected to open this year. If successful, the carts could feasibly be rolled out to other Amazon locations. And the technology could potentially be adapted for other retail partners too if Amazon chooses to go that route.