MADEIRA, Ohio — You've heard of smart phones, smart watches, and smart TVs. Add smart carts to the list as Kroger rolls out its new KroGO digital shopping carts.
Kroger corporate affairs manager Erin Rolfes allowed our cameras into the Madeira, Ohio, Kroger store to see the grocer's newest experiment with in-store technology: a digital shopping cart that rings up your purchase as you shop.
The Madeira Kroger has been testing these carts since January and has a dozen at the store entrance, ready for shoppers to try.
As Rolfes walked through the store, she grabbed apples, lemon juice and more, scanning each item into the KroGO cart, which was designed by a New York startup called Caper.
"We bagged up some sweet potatoes," she explained. "I told the cart what we were doing. Then it weighed it, and the little avocado picture told us how much it weighs and costs."
Shoppers impressed with speed and convenience
Shopper Anisha Hamm has used the cart several times and loved it.
"I think they are fast, convenient, and can get you out the door," she said.
It can also alert you to similar products to the ones you just scanned, such as showing you jars of salsa or guacamole on sale if you just bought a bag of tortilla chips.
The biggest difference between these carts and the other technology that stores have been trying (such as Kroger's "Scan, Bag, and Go" handheld scanners), is that with these, you never have to stand in a checkout lane.
"We learned during the pandemic that folks really wanted to be in and out in their grocery experience, so it's all in one cart, you pay for it and get right out the door," Rolfes said.
Rolfes showed us how you now just swipe your credit card in the cart, with no need to wait in line. It is so high-tech, it even takes chip cards.
What about the future of checkout clerks?
Kroger says they are not going anywhere, as these carts are just an option for people who love smart technology.
Cart maker Caper has said some other stores now using these carts have moved cashiers into other store positions and have not reduced their number of employees.
Right now you can try these out in Kroger's Madeira store locally, though the company plans to add them in Lockland and several other stores soon, as it expands the program's testing.
As always, don't waste your money.
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