The Shoprite Group is promising to introduce a smart trolley that can interact with a smartphone and play shopping guide in a move that feeds into the techie craze called internet of things (IoT). This comes with the introduction of a R50 refundable deposit for all trolleys.
The largest retailing group in Africa, Shoprite, said in a statement the GPS enabled trolley will be able to direct consumers fast and effectively through their shopping list and also alert them to discounted products and promotions while in store.
The group said it aim to convert and replace all its current trolleys with the new improved versions by the end of 2015.
The group said it has been working for over 2 years to propel the supermarket trolley of the past 78 years into a new era and to keep Shoprite and Checkers supermarkets at the forefront of innovation within the African retail space.
A spokesperson for the Group’s Innovation Department said this smart trolley not only knows where products are located in-store but also has supplementary customer benefits which were developed through technology already in use at the Group’s distribution centres.
In these centres automatic drones are responsible for moving pallets and picking stock. The innovation keeps Shoprite in line with international trends that have seen Facebook launching its Aquila Drone Project and Google its high-altitude balloons that aim to bring internet to the masses.
The trolley pairs with a consumer’s mobile phone through the Shoprite and Checkers Mobile Apps. Using a built-in GPS and interactive screen, it syncs with the consumers shopping list, guides the consumer along the most efficient shopping route and using historical data gathered from previous lists it alerts consumers of specials on their favourite products.
Additional features on the trolley include mobile phone stations that connect to in-store internet and charge the consumer’s phone using electricity generated by its dynamo wheels.
The spokesperson further said “this is just the first phase of the project and will vastly improve customers’ shopping experience; we’re excited to see the response”.
The group said due to the infrastructure investment and the concern over theft all of the new trolleys need to be returned before exiting the store and subject to a R50 deposit paid up front, refunded from the new minimum total purchase price of R50.