Schnucks Deploys ‘Caper Carts’ to Provide Checkout on Wheels

Schnucks Caper Cart

Schnuck Markets has extended its partnership with Instacart to introduce Caper Carts, which use AI and computer vision to automatically identify items shoppers put into them, allowing shoppers to then skip the line and check out using the cart technology. The supermarket retailer will roll out the smart carts at select St. Louis Schnucks stores this fall, with a broader rollout planned for later this year.

Select Caper Carts will include a bottom rack for heavy and bulky items. The Caper Carts themselves can be wirelessly upgraded and offer stacked charging, so they do not have to be individually plugged in or require labor-intensive battery swaps. In addition to the fully automated carts, Schnucks will test a Lite version, with customers manually scanning items before placing them in the cart.

Customers will be able to use their Schnucks Rewards account with the carts, providing them with access to clipped promotions and allowing them to view weekly circular deals as they browse the aisles.

“We believe the future of grocery will lean heavily into personalization — whether it’s achieved through in-store smart carts or by providing the best possible ecommerce experience for our customers,” said Chace MacMullan, Senior Director of Digital Experience at Schnucks in a statement. “We aim to make customers feel like each shopping experience was custom-made for them, and we’re excited to take another big step forward with the rollout of this pilot of Instacart’s Caper Carts.”

Schnucks first partnered with Instacart for same-day delivery in 2017 and has since deployed several Instacart technologies, including:

  • Ecommerce via the Instacart App or Schnucks owned-and-operated ecommerce properties powered by Instacart’s Carrot Connect;
  • Carrot Ads to power Schnucks’ retail media network;
  • Instacart’s Eversight pricing and promotions solution; and
  •  Carrot Tags’ pick-to-light functionality, which allows order pickers to tap an item on their mobile phone to make the corresponding electronic shelf label (ESL) flash, making it easier for them to find items on the shelf. The solution will roll out to Schnucks stores in the coming months.

Instacart has been expanding its already large presence in grocery in recent months. In June 2023, Instacart partnered with Aldi to make nearly 2,000 of its most popular items available for delivery in as fast as 30 minutes, and in May, Sprouts Farmers Market began leveraging Instacart’s Carrot Ads platform to launch its own retail media network.