Woolworths Is Testing AI Scanning For Your Fruit And Veg

woolworths woolies ai scanningImage: Getty Images

Woolworths is conducting a new trial that will see AI-powered checkouts automatically detect the fruit and vegetables shoppers are wanting to buy. It's available in three stores across Sydney's CBD.

The technology will allow customers to weigh produce on a machine and, using AI technology provided by Sydney startup Tiliter, automatically identify what's on the scales, according to a report from iTNews. Customers may then have to confirm the product from a range of similar options. The trials are being undertaken in three stores across Sydney — Pitt Street Metro, Metcentre Metro and MetroGo Strawberry Hill.

A category manager for the shopping giant posted to LinkedIn to show how the new technology is supposed to work.

It's tipped to make the process of buying fruit and vegetables in conjunction with the Scan&Go app more simple with customers not needing to scan the barcode and then separately weigh the produce to register the price.

"We know the two-step scanning process with loose fruit and veg isn't quite as seamless as scanning pre-packed goods on the app," the company's general manager of digital and payments Paul Monnington said to Gizmodo Australia over email.

"Together with Tiliter, we're trialling AI-enabled product recognition scales in a few of our Metro stores to see if we can speed up the shopping experience even further."

The Scan&Go app was launched in 10 selected stores in 2019 giving shoppers the option to wander through a store, scan barcodes for the products they wanted to purchase, complete the purchase in-app and then tapping off at a kiosk on the way out. For fruit and vegetables, the process was a bit lengthier with customers needing to separately scan the barcode and then weigh it.

The catch, as we reported back in June 2019, was that in order to use it, you needed to have an account for the company's loyalty program, Rewards. To sign up for one of those, you needed to hand over a lot of data including your name, email and home addresses. Any purchases made using the Rewards card would be linked to your account, according to its privacy policy.

Data collected specifically includes:

  • Your personal details such as your name, addresses, telephone numbers, age and gender
  • Your customer reference number or loyalty card number
  • Whether you have taken up some of our other offerings, such as membership of our clubs and loyalty programs, our financial services products and our mobile applications
  • Any rewards and redemption details applicable to your membership of our loyalty programs
  • Whether you have a connection with others whose personal information we may collect or hold, for example family members who may be linked to your loyalty program membership
  • What, how and when you buy from us or have expressed an interest in buying from us
  • Your stated or likely preference, for example whether you may be interested in particular products or promotions.

Gizmodo Australia has confirmed with Woolworths that customers will need to be signed up with Rewards in order to use the new trial as well as Scan&Go. When we first reported on the new service, Woolworths told us the customers' data was in safe hands.

"We have more than 11 million Rewards members across Australia and we're always looking for ways to make shopping more convenient for them. Scan&Go aims to do just that and we're pleased to offer it exclusively to Rewards members in our trials," a Woolworths spokesperson said to Gizmodo Australia.

"Linking Scan&Go with Rewards accounts helps us protect consumers and the system from fraudulent actors."

Woolworths has said its keeping an eye on customer feedback as well as the scanner's accuracy to inform whether the technology will be rolled out to further stores.

Woolies Wants To Scan Your Data & Go

This week, Woolworths rolled out its new Scan&GO payment system to more stores within the Sydney CBD. Originally trialled at Mona Vale, more customers can now scan their chosen items anywhere in a store with their app and 'tap off' at a dedicated kiosk before leaving the store. It pretty convenient, but there is a catch. You have to hand over a lot of personal data to participate.

Read more

[Via iTNews]

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