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June 27, 2024

ShopRite to bring scan-as-you-go smart carts to some Philly region stores

The technology gives customers running tallies of their groceries and links to their accounts for rewards and coupons.

Business Supermarkets
ShopRite Smart Carts Provided Image/Instacart

Instacart's Caper Carts will be available at four ShopRite Stores in the Philadelphia area. As items are added to these carts, it displays the running total of their bills.

Four ShopRite stores in the Philadelphia area will be the first in Pennsylvania where customers can use high-tech shopping carts that keep running totals of their groceries and unlock rewards. 

The New Jersey-based supermarket chain said Thursday it will introduce the carts at the following stores:

• ShopRite of Morrell Plaza - 9910 Frankford Ave., Northeast Philly
• ShopRite of Brookhaven - 5075 Edgemont Ave., Brookhaven, Delaware County
• ShopRite of Bridge & Harbison - 5597 Tulip St., Northeast Philly
• ShopRite of Drexeline - 5000 State Road, Drexel Hill, Delaware County

The new Caper Carts, made by grocery delivery company Instacart, were introduced at a ShopRite in Hoboken, New Jersey, in May and have since been added to 11 stores in the retailer's footprint in the Northeast. 

Each smart cart has a screen where shoppers scan their items as they shop, displaying how much they're spending and which coupons are available. For those with a ShopRite Price Plus membership, the screen also shows customers how much they need to spend to get rewards. There's also a built-in scale that weighs and determines the price of produce, and when items are removed from a cart, sensors know to deduct the cost from the customer's total. 

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When shoppers are ready to pay, they take their carts to the self-checkout area and scan the bar code on their cart to check out.

The carts also offer first-time users a tutorial mode that explains how to use them. At the end of the shopping trip, the smart carts can be returned to the same area where regular carts are kept. 

The technology has more features than the "Just Walk Out" shopping carts that Amazon Fresh introduced when the tech giant opened its first grocery stores in 2020. Earlier this year, Amazon Fresh opted to get rid of those carts because they had received feedback from customers who wanted to be able to see a running total of their shopping lists while going through the store.

Amazon Fresh has just over 40 stores and has struggled to gain traction, resulting in some closures and a pause on store openings. The company now plans to replace its older carts with new Dash Carts that have similar features to the ones entering ShopRite stores.  

Instacart is rolling out its Caper Carts at a growing number of U.S. grocers as part of a wider effort to make the technology available to more shoppers. 

ShopRite is a retailer-owned cooperative with more than 300 locations operated by 50 members. The brand's presence in Philadelphia has grown to 13 stores, including nine operated by Brown's Super Food Stores, Inc. — the company led by businessman and former mayoral candidate Jeff Brown. The four that initially will have the new carts are not among Brown's stores.