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289 posts

Ultimate Geek


# 258654 15-Oct-2019 09:06
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Major Japanese retailer partners with smart New Zealand technology IMAGR


The PR machine is out in full force on this bit of news, and for good reason.. The way these guys are approaching shopping at the supermarket is super interesting and completely in line with the way I imagine store based supermarket shopping in the future work.


I genuinely hate the checkout process in supermarkets. That is what made Amazon's self-service stores so appealing.. They had eliminated the checkout process, just take what you need and your account gets debited. But, Amazon's approach was to establish a monopoly by setting up their own stores with a mixture of a tonne of CCTV surveillance and tag based solutions. Disappointing because 1) privacy, and 2) by not providing the tech stack to existing supermarkets - there is no one to keep them honestly competitive. 


From a technology perspective IMAGR are playing the game like Tesla. They're shunning top-heavy expensive CCTV solutions or wasteful tag based solutions instead opting for ML powered vision systems in the shopping cart itself. They've got a massive head start with their product database and they're taking a very different (and more supportive) approach.


For those who are wondering, all a supermarket has to do is buy a bunch of the Smart Carts, add any speciality items that are not already a part of IMAGR's massive product database and then they're good to go.


As a consumer, you turn up, put your items in the cart and walk out at the end. Behind the scenes, when you put items in the cart, the SmartCart hardware identifies the items and adds them to your running total. If you remove an item physically it removes the item virtually. When you're finished you walk out of the store and it charges your account bypassing the checkout process completely.


Curious to see what other people think about this approach? Does it seem too complex? Or are you like me and can't wait to be able to walk in and walk out of a New World with the items you need in less than 5 minutes. Personally I'm just annoyed that this hasn't had more traction here in NZ - instead supermarkets are opting for annoying self-service checkouts.


I get that the general populace is adverse to change, but this is one of those technologies that I've been following with interest as I see it actually disrupting the self-service checkout orgs.


I personally think the only issue/obstacle is getting people to install the companion app in the first place - just like the initial step required to use Uber.. Once that hurdle is overcome the experience from that point looks to be hugely convenient.


 


 


 





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4243 posts

Uber Geek


  # 2337196 15-Oct-2019 09:31
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I personally think the only issue/obstacle is getting people to install the companion app in the first place - just like the initial step required to use Uber.. Once that hurdle is overcome the experience from that point looks to be hugely convenient.

 

The other thing that they need to be clear about is what happens to the data...

 

At the moment unless you actively scan a loyalty card your shopping Is pretty anonymous,  Anything tied to an app/phone will likely require some ID/contact info to be provided, which will chain your shopping purchases to you as a digital identity.....

 

Now if they allowed you to simply use the app just linked to a credit card that would be great...

 

But I'm guessing that part of the "service" they offer to retailers is knowing specific details about customers, and if you tie that to a phone that you can then identify via logging onto an in store Wifi network/Bluetooth beacons, then personalised in store advertising/targeting starts to get pretty possible....

 

 

 

 




289 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2337205 15-Oct-2019 09:41
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wellygary:

 

I personally think the only issue/obstacle is getting people to install the companion app in the first place - just like the initial step required to use Uber.. Once that hurdle is overcome the experience from that point looks to be hugely convenient.

 

The other thing that they need to be clear about is what happens to the data...

 

At the moment unless you actively scan a loyalty card your shopping Is pretty anonymous,  Anything tied to an app/phone will likely require some ID/contact info to be provided, which will chain your shopping purchases to you as a digital identity.....

 

Now if they allowed you to simply use the app just linked to a credit card that would be great...

 

But I'm guessing that part of the "service" they offer to retailers is knowing specific details about customers, and if you tie that to a phone that you can then identify via logging onto an in store Wifi network/Bluetooth beacons, then personalised in store advertising/targeting starts to get pretty possible....

 

 

 

 

Very true and not worth discounting. So, good point.

 

Part of the reason I dislike Amazon is the inability to be anonymous or opt out of the tracking.

 

It would be nice if you can get your receipt with all of your items, without having to hand your privacy over to get it.

 

IMAGR need to consider this otherwise they'll never break into Europe.

 

 





Tesla Model S P100DL / BMW i3 / Model 3: Feel free to private message me if you need advice buying an Electric Vehicle (EV).
If my advice has been helpful, or you just want free stuff with your purchase, use my referral link to buy your Tesla.


 
 
 
 


302 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2337405 15-Oct-2019 13:35
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How does it get around the multitude of weight based products like fruit, vege, meats etc? Would this supermarket of the future have to resort to putting everything in pre-packaged plastic bags? 

 

 




289 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2337420 15-Oct-2019 13:56
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Jeeves:

 

How does it get around the multitude of weight based products like fruit, vege, meats etc? Would this supermarket of the future have to resort to putting everything in pre-packaged plastic bags? 

 

 

Not entirely clear especially regarding unpacked weighing of meat products - but I'm pretty sure the solution doesn't involve plastic wrapping individual items (although that ironically is Japan's solution to everything).. It may be a situation where we finally move away from weight based sales of fruit and veg instead opting for simple per item quantities. Sort of like Avocado sales at the moment. As for meat packs the vision system can definitely read barcodes so that wouldn't be a big issue.





Tesla Model S P100DL / BMW i3 / Model 3: Feel free to private message me if you need advice buying an Electric Vehicle (EV).
If my advice has been helpful, or you just want free stuff with your purchase, use my referral link to buy your Tesla.


800 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2337482 15-Oct-2019 15:46
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In Christchurch at least one New World and Pak'n Save store has shop and go.

 

Use a hand held scanner or phone app to scan the items as you put them in the trolley. Then just pay for your trolley load as you leave. No need to use a till unless you get stopped and checked you that have scanned everything.

 

 

 

https://www.newworld.co.nz/shop/shop-and-go

 

https://www.paknsave.co.nz/shop/shop-n-go


4243 posts

Uber Geek


  # 2337501 15-Oct-2019 16:18
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Jeeves:

 

How does it get around the multitude of weight based products like fruit, vege, meats etc? Would this supermarket of the future have to resort to putting everything in pre-packaged plastic bags? 

 

 

They don't need to be pre packaged, certainly until 5-10 years ago in many supermarkets in NZ you stuck your own labels from the scales on bags of fruit/vege after weighing them... fairly easy to go back to that.... the basket then just reads the bar code as you put it in....


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