Smart grocery shopping cart startup Shopic has secured funding to accelerate the rollout of its clip-on device in the U.S. and Europe.
The Tel Aviv, Israel-based company said it aims to challenge Amazon’s Dash Cart with a clip-on alternative that works with any cart in a seamless “shelf-to-car” shopping experience. The U.S. expansion coincides with Shopic’s $35 million Series B investment round led by Qualcomm Ventures, bringing its total funding raised to $56 million.
Shopic’s AI-powered clip-on device uses computer vision algorithms to identify items placed in the cart in real-time, while displaying product promotions and discounts on related products. The self-service checkout interface allows customers to check out and pay without waiting in line. Shoppers remove the device when they’re done and roll the cart out to the parking lot.
“Today’s consumers are used to friction-free online shopping experiences, but retailers struggle to deliver them for in-store shoppers,” according to Raz Golan, CEO and co-founder of Shopic. “As the only solution that uses full computer vision rather than barcode scanning, Shopic empowers retailers to not only meet customer expectations but to delight them.”
The attachment uses a camera duo inside the cart to support catalogs of over 50,000 items, cover edge cases and achieve low latency with limited processing power. The algorithm can identify products thrown into the cart when it’s in motion or when multiple products are put into the carts simultaneously.
Live system deployments found that Shopic’s solution increased shoppers’ monthly spending by 8%.
Shopic also provides real-time inventory management and customer behavioral reports for retailers through an analytics dashboard. Information also includes aisle heat maps, promotion monitoring and new product adoption metrics.
Merav Weinryb, vice president of Qualcomm Israel Ltd. and managing director of Qualcomm Ventures Israel and Europe, explained why Qualcomm is backing Shopic: “We support Shopic’s vision of hybrid retail, where the best of online shopping and physical store experiences merge,” she said. “Shopic’s smart cart, which is a compelling and pragmatic smart retail solution, is helping enable this future. We were very impressed with the performance of Shopic’s cart in live supermarkets, demonstrating the potential of AI to transform everyday experiences for everyone.”
Other participating investors include Vintage Investment Partners and Clal Insurance, together with Shopic’s existing investors IBI Tech Fund, Tal Ventures, Claridge Israel and Shufersal.
Shopic is targeting Amazon as it rolls out an upgraded version of the Dash Cart, which brings added functionality and now carries more groceries and can by taken by shoppers all the way to their car.
Other grocery players also have exhibited increased interest in smart shopping cart solutions.
Last fall, Instacart acquired smart cart maker Caper Inc. in a $350 million deal. Caper’s artificial intelligence (AI)-powered cart enables shoppers to scan items they select off store shelves and pay for them directly via the cart, eliminating the need to wait at checkout. Caper’s cart already was being piloted at U.S. grocers such as The Kroger Co. (which branded the cart “KroGO”), Wakefern Food Corp. and Schnuck Markets. Sobeys Inc., one of Canada’s largest food and drug retailers, rolled out the Caper Cart after piloting the technology in October 2019.
And this past May, Veeve Inc. unveiled a partnership with Albertsons Cos. to pilot its AI-powered shopping carts. Veeve Smart Carts allow shoppers to scan, pay and go. The technology combines barcode scanning and computer vision to identify products added to or removed from the cart. A built-in scale captures the weight and calculates the price of unpackaged groceries, such as produce, and a touchscreen near the cart handle keeps a running total of the purchase. When done shopping, customers press the “checkout” button and tap to pay or insert a credit/debit card using the adjacent payment device.
Plans call for Albertsons to pilot the Veeve Smart Carts at “a few dozen stores” across the country later this year, Seattle-based Veeve said. Its smart cart also is being tested by Western grocer Raley’s.