New Zealand company IMAGR is soon to trial SMARTCART, an AI solution based on visual recognition of product packaging in the shopping trolley.
In FMCG retail, creating a positive shopping experience is paramount for retailers, and a new technology developed by New Zealand start-up IMAGR is set to take convenience to the next level.
The company announced today it has secured funding from private investor Sage Technologies for its AI-activated SMARTCART solution.
Shortly after the announcement, PKN spoke to IMAGR founder William Chomley about the tech and the next steps towards roll-out.
“We're really excited about the new partnership; it will fast-track our product development and ultimately deliver game-changing shopper experiences,” Chomley said, noting that IMAGR is already in talks with major retailers in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and America.
IMAGR has lofty goals: to achieve a 100 per cent user-adoption at three of the world’s leading retailers by 2022. The company plans to move into the testing phase (beta) in April 2018.
Simply explained, SMARTCART is an image recognition retrofit solution, and works within existing retail infrastructure. Cameras are fitted to trolleys/baskets, and products are recognised in real-time as the shopper drops them into the cart.
Chomley explains that products are recognised based on shape, colour, font size and other distinctive graphic elements.
The camera recognises products that have been onboarded into the IMAGR product database, which contains an almost 360-degree view of entire supermarket product ranges.
“We have capability to onboard 40,000 products in 30 days and new products would be added in advance of them hitting the shelves,” Chomley says, adding that they would be looking to partner with barcode-issuer GS1, who already has most products in a database.
For retailers, SMARTCART will help with inventory management, cost reduction, analytics and opportunities for direct customer advertising through the app.
SMARTCART removes the need for traditional barcode scanning and the checkout process.
To activate, a customer downloads the app for the store they visit and sets up their payment method. While in store, shoppers pair their smartphone with the shopping cart and as they add items to the cart the items appear on their phone’s virtual basket.
“For those looking for inspiration for what to make for dinner, the SMARTCART experience doesn’t just stop there. We’re also developing a helpful app which will recommend recipes in line with what products are being put in the cart and guide shoppers to specific products around the store. It will also identify personalised promotions to in-store customers,” adds Chomley.
“We are excited to lead the way using computer vision technology and artificial intelligence to create new shopper experiences which will become more and more integrated with our everyday lives.”
Check out this video of how it works: