Caper AI’s object recognition system enables customers to put items into their cart without having to scan or weigh them and checkout at the cart itself


Caper AI makes smart shopping carts and automated checkout counters. (Credit: Instacart)

Online grocery platform Instacart has acquired Caper AI, an artificial intelligence (AI) powered shopping cart and checkout technology platform, for an undisclosed price.

Caper AI’s shopping carts and automated checkout counters are said to provide customers with a completely new in-store shopping experience by bringing together online and offline shopping.

The New York-based firm has developed an object recognition system to enable customers to put items into their cart without having to scan or weigh them and check out at the cart itself.

Caper AI has also been developing smart checkout counters. By using cameras and a weight sensor, the counters auto-detect items put upon its counter, thereby facilitating an easier and faster checkout flow for customers.

According to Instacart, the acquisition expands its retailer enablement platform. Presently, the platform spans the Instacart marketplace, enterprise services that drive the e-commerce solutions for various grocers, fulfilment technology, last-mile delivery, and others.

Through the acquisition, Instacart aims to help retailers combine the in-store and online shopping experience for customers, thereby supporting the business of retailers irrespective of how customers want to shop.

Instacart CEO Fidji Simo said: “Over the years, Instacart has continued to expand its retailer enablement services, helping brick-and-mortar grocers across North America move their businesses online, grow and meet the evolving needs of their customers.

“As we look ahead, we’re focused on creating even more ways for retailers to develop unified commerce offerings that help address consumer needs across both online and in-store shopping.”

Caper AI also customises shopping experiences with its shopping carts featuring touch-enabled screens to allow customers to navigate store aisles. The screens also provide product suggestions based on what the customers had placed in their carts.

During the course of time, Instacart anticipates integrating Caper AI’s technology into its app and that of its retail partners along with their e-commerce websites. The integration will let customers create online shopping lists, browse recipes, and check off their lists as they move around.

Caper AI co-founder and CEO Lindon Gao said: “The powerful technology we’ve created is intuitive for customers, easy to deploy for retailers of all sizes, and creates a physical retail ecosystem that never existed before.

“We share Instacart’s vision of enabling grocery retailers with innovations that create step changes for their businesses, and we’re proud to now be joining forces with Instacart to develop even more solutions that help bring the online and offline together for retailers.”