With mobile self-checkout technology increasingly permeating the grocery industry, third-party delivery service Instacart now may be planning to introduce a system of its own, according to a patent filed by the San Francisco-based company.
The online shopping concierge service is intended to allow shoppers to purchase items on behalf of customers and checkout using a mobile app. According to the patent, here’s how it would work:
- A customer places an order using a mobile app or website associated with the online shopping concierge service.
- The service charges a payment instrument of the customer in the value of the selected items.
- The system transmits the order to a shopper, who receives an order for fulfillment on a mobile device.
- The shopper collects and scans items using a mobile app.
- The mobile app transmits an identification of the items for purchase and their total cost to the online shopping concierge service, which transmits payment to the retailer. Alternatively, the mobile app enters an identification of the items for purchase into an encoded image, which is scanned by a cashier, allowing the shopper to complete an accelerated checkout.
While a filed patent doesn't equal an available solution, the new technology is viable in an age in which more food retailers are adding technology to help shoppers skip checkout lines. Aside from arguably the most-discussed example, Amazon Go, grocers from behemoths such as Walmart and Kroger, as well as independents such as Macey’s in Utah, are adding technology to their stores for scanning and purchasing items as they shop.