How the Amazon Dash Cart will change their ‘cashless grocery store’ game

Amazon has announced a “new smart shopping cart” called the Dash Cart for their upcoming full-size cashless grocery store coming this year. It is designed to “make a quick grocery trip even quicker by allowing you to skip the checkout line.”

Amazon Go—Amazon’s first automated brick-and-mortar store—was open to the public in Seattle two years ago. The store uses a network of cameras and sensors to monitor customers and automatically bill them for what they take out of the store via an app. However, their new grocery store will have built cameras and sensors into the Dash Cart itself.

“The cart uses a combination of computer vision algorithms and sensor fusion to identify items you put in the cart. When you exit through the store’s Amazon Dash Cart lane, sensors automatically identify the cart, and your payment is processed using the credit card on your Amazon account,” wrote Amazon.

Here’s how it works

  • A shopper signs into their Amazon mobile app to receive a QR code. 
  • They can then scan the code on the Dash Cart’s QR code reader.
  • The shopper places empty shopping bags in the cart.
  • When shopping, they can take barcoded items off shelves, place them in the cart, and wait for a beep.
  • If an orange alert appears, it means to try again. If a green alert appears, it means that the item was added to the cart correctly. 
  • For items that don’t have a barcode, a shopper can add them to the cart by tapping “Add PLU Item” on the cart screen.
  • As the cart will also have an integrated scale, a shopper can then confirm the measured weight of the said PLU product that appears on the screen. 
  • Finally, when it comes time to pay, the shopper simply rolls through the aptly named “Dash Cart Lane,” returns the Dash Cart, pays electronically, and gets a receipt via email.

The Dash Cart will let Amazon build or convert traditional grocery stores into eventually going cashless without needing to install the expensive and complicated camera system it uses in their Go stores. However, the drawback is the limited capacity, as one cart only has enough room to fill in two grocery bags.

It seems like a great idea if you wanted to shop light. But since it will only be available later this year in Woodland Hills, California, it will be a while until we get to see how well it works.

The closest thing we have to something like this was Habitat by honestbee in Singapore. However, they are currently closed until further notice and is mulling over the permanent closure of Habitat as their CEO Lay Ann Ong mentioned that continuing to run Habitat would incur “significant overheads and working capital”.

Aside from that, Tesco in Malaysia have their own its Scan & Shop feature. The experience is pretty manual compared to Amazon’s solution but at least you can check out quicker without taking items out from the cart.


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Dzamira Dzafri