It was announced this week that retailing giant has received approval for a patent on self-driving shopping carts. These carts will be equipped with both a motor and a video camera. While the Internet-of-Things has been a huge buzz for some time now, most of the attention at the retailer level has been focused on things like mirrors that shoppers virtually try on clothes or test out makeup without having to actually apply. Shoppers continue to be wary of smart devices that, in theory, should enhance their shopping experience. Will self-driving shopping carts also make shoppers wary?
Sure, it would be nice to not have to chase down a cart, especially for store employees. But these self-driving carts could hold so much more power. Consider this: if shopping carts drove themselves, could they also control the pace of entire experience? Would they be able to force shoppers to peruse for just one more second, potentially enough time to inspire an impulse purchase and get one more item in the basket? Could it be integrated into a retailer app where the cart could see a shopping list and determine the most efficient way around the store, leaving the shopper to simply follow and pull brands from the shelf?
The potential for a technological innovation that does enhance the shopper experience is there. However, many shoppers may be concerned about self-driving carts as it takes one more thing out of their control.
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