SAN FRANCISCO – If Microsoft follows Amazon's leadership in the grocery business with reduced cash technology, it can renew a previous, failed, unpaid purchase attempt, a high-tech shopping cart.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, is working on technology to eliminate pay-lines in stores by tracking what buyers add to their carts. He has shown samples to retailers and talked with Walmart about a collaboration, the sources told Reuters.

Such a product would install Microsoft to compete with Amazon Go, the Amazon custom design store that uses cameras and tracking technology to cut the ATM. Amazon has an open store in Seattle and plans to open more in Chicago and San Francisco.

Microsoft's challenge: an attempt on the shopping carts that tracked purchases was attempted and found to be lacking in the past.

"Cart-based (technology) is such an old school – IBM tried it more than 20 years ago," said Phil Lempert, supermarket analyst who runs the Supermarket Guru website. "The problem is that maintenance at the The unit store is too expensive, and people kill the units by hitting them, trying to steal them. "

Stores like Kroger and Stop & Shop tested them, but found that most consumers used them as a calculator to add up. how much they spent, he said.

Technology has evolved since 2000, so it might be time to try again. Without a doubt, it is a way of dealing with the cost n. ° 1 facing the food industry: labor. As the push to raise minimum wages to $ 15 per hour moves across the country, supermarkets are looking for technology as a way to eliminate jobs so that they can keep costs down and prices equal.

"Money must come from somewhere … increases in consumer prices or lower costs," Lempert said. In today's environment, both are difficult to achieve, especially for Amazon and Walmart, which have difficulty raising prices, he said. said

Microsoft and Walmart declined to comment.

Cars, not cameras

Microsoft's intentions – if they were made – would add another technological giant in the quest to revolutionize the grocery business, marked by low profit margins, high staffing costs and a vast physical presence .

"Microsoft especially has the opportunity to take advantage of its technological prowess not to copy Amazon Go, but to pursue the grand prize: to duplicate the Amazon Go experience in much larger retail formats, such as supermarkets," retail and the consultant of the supply chain Brittain Ladd said:

It is forecast that the US grocery market. UU It will be worth $ 1.7 billion by 2022, according to IGD, a food and grocery research organization. [1 9459012] Eliminating the need for ATMs will reduce the company's costs while threatening a category of administrative jobs.

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Amazon's high-tech approach, created by The company that is most visible changed the way Americans buy in recent years, has suggested that grocery shopping is on the cusp of its biggest breakthrough from bar codes.

A technology based on the cart would be less expensive than the Amazon system. To install a payment system based on the cart, the basic elements are new cars and some type of monitor at the exit.

That's different from Amazon, which is building new Amazon Go stores with a variety of cameras. All items must be coded with bars and, in the case of loose items such as salads, must be pre-measured so that they have exactly the same weight and do not require different price points.

A car-based system faces the same overwhelming difficulties that other self-payment systems have faced.

Walmart, for example, launched an unpaid payment service called Scan & Go last year in about 120 stores, allowing customers to scan and pack. However, he canceled the program in May at Walmart stores, although it continues at Sam's Club stores.

Even so, the potential market for the technology companies that break through at the door is too big to ignore. According to IGD, the US grocery market. UU It will be worth $ 1.7 billion in 2022.

Contributor: The Associated Press .

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