For retailers looking to explore cashierless checkout, there are two big models emerging: retrofit the store with cameras and computer vision, or retrofit the shopping carts with smaller versions of that same tech. Tel Aviv, Israel-based WalkOut falls into the latter category. It provides retailers with kits that not only transform existing shopping carts into mobile cashierless checkout stations, but also a personalized advertising and recommendation platform.
WalkOut’s retrofit kit contains cameras and a touchscreen base that install onto existing shopping carts. The system uses computer vision to recognize products placed in the cart. (Bulk items are weighed on a separate scale and a sticker with a barcode is printed out for the system to read.) WalkOut’s system does all the image recognition on the edge and not in the cloud, so there is not a lot of data transfer gobbling up a store’s bandwidth. The cart keeps track of what you put into it and tallies your total when you’re ready to leave. When it comes to checkout, stores can choose from different options such as a traditional cashier or a standalone checkout stand for payment.
In addition to providing cashierless checkout, the touchscreen also acts as an advertising and recommendations platform. The screen can be used to guide people to specials currently offered, or personalized recommendations can be shown if a shopper logs in with a store’s loyalty card.
Like with other cashierless checkout options, WalkOut smart carts can also give retailers insight into inventory levels and how customers shop. WalkOut shows retailers what items people are putting in their carts, a customer’s journey inside a store and analytics on which ads and promotions are effective.
WalkOut is certainly not alone in the smart cart space. This sub-sector of the cashierless checkout market is bustling with activity. Caper, Veeve, Tracxpoint, Storewide Active Intelligence, Imagr, Nomitri, SuperSmart and even Amazon all have smart cart cart solutions available to retailers.
Adopting smart carts can be an appealing proposition for retailers because it allows them to experiment with cashierless checkout without needing to permanently install cameras and sensors inside the store. Grocers can test the new system out with some carts to see how it works before making a decision. Kroger, for instance, began testing smart carts on a limited basis in its hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio at the beginning of this year.
WalkOut is currently in trials with a number of undisclosed European and U.S. retailers. The company was founded three years ago and has raised and undisclosed sum of pre-seed and seed funding.