Amazon's Smart Shopping Carts Are Coming To Whole Foods

If ever there was a device that was desperately overdue for a makeover, it is the shopping cart. Since store owner Sylvan Goldman first came up with the idea for the shopping cart in Oklahoma City in 1939 and Orla Watson figured out the "nesting" feature that allowed carts to easily fit together for storage purposes in 1946 (per Shopify), not much has happened in the way of shopping cart evolution. Until Amazon's Dash Cart, that is. Amazon's Dash Cart isn't just a makeover or merely a tiny step in shopping cart evolution. It's a quantum leap forward. And if you haven't tried one yet, your chance may be coming soon.

That's right: Amazon's Dash Cart, which premiered during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in September 2020 at Amazon Fresh stores throughout the U.S., will now be available at Whole Foods Markets, too. Well, only one Whole Foods store just to start. Amazon recently announced. The computerized cart, which removed the necessity for checkout lines completely, has been upgraded with new features, and will be integrated into one store in Westford, Massachusetts during upcoming months. Amazon's goal is to eventually roll the new cart out to many more Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh locations nationwide.

Amazon's dash cart has a host of new features

The original version of Amazon's Dash Cart was, as mentioned, a pretty incredible leap forward from traditional shopping cart technology. As in, it actually had technology. According to Amazon, the new version is even more impressive. After customers log in via app or QR code, they can scan items as they're placed in the Dash Cart, including being able to weigh produce items, with a running receipt tally viewable on the smart cart's computer screen. Then, after exiting the store via the dedicated Dash Cart lane, charges are billed to the credit card linked to the customer's account and a receipt is emailed to them.

The biggest issue with the original Dash Cart is that it only had room for two grocery bags. This has also been addressed with the upgraded version. Capacity has been doubled to four bags, reports CNBC, and will now include a version of the traditional shopping cart's lower shelf to accommodate larger items. Since the larger cart size means that there's now more bags for customers to carry out to their cars, Amazon has also modified the cart to go all the way out to the parking lot. Per CNBC, Amazon conducted durability testing to ensure that the smart carts could handle inclement weather conditions, either of the summer or winter variety.

New dash cart look the result of customer feedback

The new look Dash Cart reflects customer feedback over the course of the earlier model's existence. For instance, per Amazon, the newer and lighter (yet also larger) Dash Cart will now be more precise in locating the cart within stores, allowing the computer screen to show discounts and deals on nearby items. Computer vision and sensor technology has also been improved on the new Dash Cart, while battery life has been extended so more smart carts will be available at any given time.

The rollout of new Dash Carts at the Whole Foods store in Medford, Massachusetts will also allow both  Amazon and Whole Foods to assess the feedback from the improved features with an eye to making shopping even more time-saving and convenient in the future. "As many of our customers return to their in-store grocery shopping routines, it's exciting to introduce new and unique ways for them to shop our stores," said Leandro Balbinot, Whole Foods Market's chief technology officer, via Amazon. "We're thrilled that the newest version of Dash Cart will debut in our Westford store and can't wait to hear the feedback from our customers there."