The Future For Shoppers with an extra line or so
by SUSAN SAMPSON, Trendspotting, Toronto Star, Toronto, ON
TORONTO - The smart cart is on its way. It's called the Concierge. And it's got all kinds of functions to hasten and ease your supermarket experience. Call up your shopping list. Tick off items and total up prices using fingertip touches and bar code scanning. Order deli meats or cakes while you cruise the aisles. (Concierge will notify you when the order is ready for pickup.) Find out where the lima beans or the canned chestnut puree might be hiding. Check nutritional information. Find recipes (and the ingredients for them). Browse specials and get coupons.
You'd think that grocers wouldn't like Concierge. After all, wandering around looking for an item (and picking up impulse buys along the way) is good for business. But one payoff is being able to target ads at customers already in the store (pet owners, for example). Another is an increase in customer traffic. There's wiggle room. According to StatsCan, Canadians spend 9.1 per cent of their disposable incomes on grocery products - one of the lowest percentages in the world.