Seattle-based start-up Veeve and grocery chain Albertsons announced a deal Thursday to deploy Veeve Smart Carts in "a few dozen" of its stores by the end of the year. Photo courtesy Veeve
May 19 (UPI) -- Start-up Veeve on Thursday announced a deal to deploy its self-checkout grocery carts to some Albertsons grocery store locations.
The Seattle-based company, founded by two former senior Amazon managers, said in a statement that its Veeve Smart Carts will be available to customers at "a few dozen" Albertsons stores throughout the United States later this year.
Veeve Smart Carts use a touch screen that tallies items as they are placed in the cart and a built-in scale for produce, allowing customers to complete their payment in the cart and walk out of the store without having to stop in the checkout line.
"Veeve Smart Carts offer a sophisticated, yet simple self-checkout experience for people who value flexibility and time savings," Alyse Wuson, senior director of Omni Experiences at Albertsons Companies said.
"Our goal is to enhance the grocery experience no matter how our guests choose to shop, and Veeve's technology brings the ease and integration of ecommerce right to the grocery cart."
Albertsons, which had 2,278 food and drug stores in the United States as of December, began testing Veeve carts at two of its stores in Idaho and California in November.
Veeve CEO Shariq Siddiqui told CNBC that customers at those stores have adopted the smart shopping carts, adding they can also allow stores to manage labor shortages by allowing cashiers to shift to other roles.
"Stores are shutting down earlier than ever, just because they're short-staffed so much," Siddiqui said. "One of those stores we deployed in is fully autonomous. There's a lot of momentum going in that direction."
Chris Rupp, Albertsons chief customer and digital officer, said that the adoption of the Smart Carts will not impact jobs.
"For many shoppers, a great in-store experience rests heavily on interactions and support from our incredible in-store teams," Rupp said.
Veeve faces competition from Amazon's Dash Carts, which launched in 2020, while Instacart acquired smart cart maker Caper AI last year, and other grocers such as Kroger have been testing smart cart technology in some stores.
"This deployment is an important and inevitable next step in connecting the consumer's ecommerce activity with a totally new, digitally driven in-store shopping experience," Siddiqui said.