Another Company Takes Stab At Getting Shopping Screens On Shopping Carts Beyond Pilots

February 23, 2024 by Dave Haynes

The idea of attaching a small flat screen to shopping carts used in big box groceries and mass merchandisers has been around and tried for 15-plus years, and it has never really gone anywhere. But much has happened through those years, and there are companies continuing to take shots at getting widespread adoption in retail.

Among the latest – the German company Rewe Group trying out what’s called a digital shopping companion at a Rewe shopping center in its head office city of Cologne

The test is being run through the company’s digital unit and done with tech from the Israeli technology company Catch Retail.

From German language content partner invidis:

For this purpose, tablets are attached to the shopping cart that provide personalized product suggestions, help search for goods and offer navigation through the supermarket . In the words of Rewe, the aim is to “create a new shopping experience in stationary retail and offer options for individualization.”

The pilot project is being implemented in the Rewe Center in Cologne-Bickendorf. The technology behind it is based on AI and accompanies customers’ purchases. In this way, the system learns shopping routes, but without permanently storing personal data. Based on the data, the system predicts the route through the market and suggests suitable products for purchase in real time.

Here’s a video

In addition, barcodes, digital shopping lists and handwritten shopping lists that you bring with you can be scanned using a camera on the back of the tablet. The Catch solution then recognizes the customers’ lists and handwriting and automatically leads them to the locations of the desired products. Along the way, discounted products or special offers are suggested that could fit the customer’s purchase and shopping path.

“We know the wishes and shopping habits of our customers in our store very well and can manage the product range accordingly. With this pilot project, we want to go one step further and check whether we can get even better insights and offer customers even more service. Our committed employees are always available on site – and it will stay that way. But a service like Catch can extend the support during shopping,” explains businessman Boris Dugandzic, who runs the Rewe Center with his brother.

Back in the mid-2000s, when this idea first bubbled up, there wasn’t anything like the AI now available and the capital costs for the display, batteries and charging systems were ghastly. But the premise back then was very similar – suggestive selling on the screens and data collection (using RFID) to get a sense of show stores were shopped.

I like the utility of this, in terms of helping me find things in big footprint stores. But it looks like it will help shoppers fill up the cart, but not auto-read what was bought so that the checkout line can be skipped. The video suggests a separate handheld scanner is needed to “Scan & Go” from the store, so we’re not talking about a “just walk out” scenario here, though.

The old ops guy in me wants to know how all of these battery-run displays get charged and maintained.

Interesting, nonetheless.

  1. Bil Trainor says:

    The old guy in me wonders what makes this latest attempt the one to survive.

  2. Paul Wheeler says:

    Some ideas just won’t die.

    We already have screens “attached” to every interaction we experience. We even provide them at our cost and carry them with us at all times.

    Apps not devices. Software not hardware.

    Most major chains have a shop and pay as you go app and these work perfectly.

    Maybe I am missing something?

    Seems like a 1990’s solution to an already met need.

    – Paul

  3. King says:

    To the author – just wanted to remind you of old Russian proverb: envy with silence. So s.t.f.u. 😊

    1. Dave Haynes says:

      Charming. IP is from Israel.

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