IMAGR’s smart shopping cart scores overseas distribution deal

Inks agreement with H2O

New Zealand startup IMAGR, developer of an intelligent shopping trolley that is able to identify every item placed into it, has scored an international distribution deal from Japan’s H2O Retailing Corporation and says it expects international rollout to start from May 2020.

H2O is headquartered in Osaka and operates supermarkets in Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and elsewhere in Japan IMAGR says it will open an office in Japan, its first outside New Zealand, to work with H2O.

IMAGR’s SmartCart contains four cameras coupled with the what the company claims to be the world’s most powerful AI vision recognition system to identify what a customer puts in, or removes from, the cart.

“Self-contained in a robust trolley which is visually indistinguishable from a regular shopping cart, the cameras examine, recognise and account for goods as they are added or remove,” IMAGR says.

It claims SmartCart to be is vastly more efficient than ceiling-based frictionless retail solutions, such as Amazon Go, and far easier to implement. “There is no facial detection with SmartCart, because the SmartCart cameras are focused within the cart, not the surrounding area.”

IMAGR says customers can use SmartCart by installing an app, linking a payment method, and then syncing their handset with the cart when shopping.

Alternatively, SmartCart can be used without linking to a handset or bank card: customers arrive at the checkout with the trolley recording a predetermined total, eliminating the need for unloading, scanning and reloading individual items.

IMAGR founder and CEO William Chomley said SmartCart had been designed for easy introduction so it could generate revenue for retailers rapidly.

“In fact, the setup cost is roughly equivalent to that of introducing self-checkout," Chomley said.

"Globally, retailers are looking for ways to improve the customer experience while reducing overheads. SmartCart does both.”

MAGR was started in Sydney in early 2015 but founder Chomley returned to New Zealand and moved the business to Auckland a year later. In November 2017 the company said it had secured “significant investment” from Sage Technologies to roll out its Smartcart technology.

In February 2018 the company announced that a  Foodstuff’s store in the Auckland suburb of Ellerslie had become the first retailer in the world to trial its SmartCart.

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