The smart shopping cart startup Shopic Technologies Ltd. said today it has raised $35 million in funding to get closer to fulfilling its mission of making grocery shopping experiences smarter for stores and consumers.
Today’s Series B round was led by Qualcomm Ventures and saw the participation of Vintage Investment Partners, Clal Insurance, IBI Tech Fund, Tal Ventures, Claridge Israel and Shufersal, bringing Shopic’s total amount raised to $56 million.
Shopic is the creator of an intelligent, artificial intelligence-powered clip-on device that transforms a regular shopping cart into something that’s much smarter. With two cameras and computer vision technology under the hood, Shopic’s device can identify any item that’s placed into the cart in real time, displaying the price, along with an updated total, as well as various promotions and discounts offered on related products. The system can also act as a self-checkout service, saving customers the time and hassle of waiting to pay once they’ve completed their shop.
The computer vision AI model supports a large catalog of more than 50,000 items, Shopic said, and is especially designed to run on low-powered devices at the edge. What’s more, thanks to the dual-camera setup on Shopic’s devices, it can recognize items that have been tossed carelessly into the cart, even if the cart itself is in motion. It can also identify multiple products placed into the cart simultaneously — not an uncommon experience when two or more people are shopping together and only one is pushing the cart.
Shopic claims a few compelling advantages to its devices over the likes of Amazon Dash, which also uses smart cart technology. For instance, Shopic’s clip-on devices can be used with any kind of shopping cart, in this way enabling smaller, family-run grocery stores to become smarter. In addition, shoppers can remove the device once they have completed their shop, but still use the cart to transport their items to their parked car.
For grocers, Shopic goes even further by providing an array of useful analytics-based insights on customer behavior and aisle inventory. For example it can produce heat maps of each aisle in the store, showing where most traffic is, as well as inventory management in real-time. It can also help monitor the effectiveness of product promotions and provide metrics on the adoption of new products to see which ones are selling best.
Best of all, Shopic claims that shoppers appreciate the promotions and recommendations so much that they actually end up spending more money. It said that its customers, which include some of the world’s largest supermarket chains in Europe, Israel and the Americas, saw average spending increase by 8% when consumers used smart carts instead of traditional ones.
Shopic co-founder and Chief Executive Raz Golan said consumers have become accustomed to friction-free shopping experiences online. However, grocers fail to replicate that same experience in their physical stores. Shopic hopes to change that, he said. “As the only solution that uses full computer vision rather than barcode scanning, Shopic empowers retailers to not only meet customer expectations, but to delight them,” Golan said.
Merav Weinryb, managing director of Qualcomm Ventures in Israel and Europe, said he supports Shopic’s vision of “hybrid retail” that marries the best elements of online and physical shopping. “We were very impressed with the performance of Shopic’s cart in live supermarkets, demonstrating the potential of AI to transform everyday experiences for everyone,” he added.