Shoppers around the world are one step closer to experiencing artificial intelligence in action when they fill up their supermarket carts following a private investor’s buy-in to a leading AI start-up in New Zealand.
IMAGR has secured Sage Technologies as a cornerstone investor, representing a significant commitment to accelerating the development of the start-up’s retail product, SmartCart.
SmartCart is an image recognition retrofit solution designed to eliminate the queues at checkouts, aiming to revolutionise the shopping experience for consumers and retailers.
Founded in Australia in 2015, William Chomley returned to New Zealand to set up the business in Auckland 12 months ago, with the new partnership aiming to fast-track the company’s product developments.
“We’re passionate about delivering the world’s best consumer experiences through image processing and artificial intelligence,” Chomley said.
“Our goal is to give retailers innovative solutions for efficiency, and with the support of Sage Technologies, we are now able to progress much more quickly towards rolling out our product range on an international scale.”
Working in real-time using computer vision technology, SmartCart recognises products as they enter a supermarket cart – removing the need for traditional barcode scanning and the checkout process.
To activate, a customer downloads the app for the store they visit and sets up their payment method.
While in store, shoppers pair their smartphone with the shopping cart and as they add items to the cart the items appear on their phone’s virtual basket.
IMAGR came to the attention of Sage Technologies, the technology venture of private investment company QuantRes founder Harald McPike, four months ago, with head of investment strategy Michael Boocher now joining the start-up as a board director.
“IMAGR’s SmartCart promises to provide a truly friction-less retail experience, and while our connection to technology is often cited as being responsible for increased isolationism, there are some interactions we can live without,” Boocher added.
“We’re excited to work with William and his team in IMAGR’s next phase of growth, offering product innovation and enhanced in-store user-experiences with the development of the SmartCart.”
Currently, IMAGR is already in talks with top FMCG retailers in New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Europe and America about using SmartCart to enhance everyday experiences and will move into the testing phase (beta) in April 2018.
According to Chomley, the goal id to achieve a 100 per cent user-adoption at three of the world’s leading retailers by 2022.
For retailers, SmartCart will help with inventory management, cost reduction, analytics and opportunities for direct customer advertising through the app.
“For those looking for inspiration for what to make for dinner, the SmartCart experience doesn’t just stop there,” Chomley added.
“We’re also developing a helpful app which will recommend recipes in line with what products are being put in the cart and guide shoppers to specific products around the store. It will also identify personalised promotions to in-store customers.
“We are excited to lead the way using computer vision technology and artificial intelligence to create new shopper experiences which will become more and more integrated with our everyday lives.”