“I have 4 daughters and I love shopping. I love to wander the stores and see grocery shopping as a fun, enjoyable, experience. At least until I get to the cash register,” says Joseph BenTsur, founder of Cust2Mate, smart carts for supermarkets. “When I get to the register, I need to start unloading the groceries and then repack them, with someone waiting behind me and the whole queue just getting longer and longer. Today’s supermarkets are designed to be a pleasant place to wander around in, with a high sense of customer satisfaction and an immense understanding of consumer experience. But in the end, the cash register looks the same everywhere you go, and the same as it has for many years.”.
BenTsur, a serial entrepreneur and industrialist decided to make a change. BenTsur is the founder and CEO of A2Z, a company quoted on the Nasdaq and traded in the Canadian stock exchange and is the the owner of several patents. A2Z has several holdings: a project and service group that BenTsur established in 1985, that delivers services to security and civil industries, the metal company Isramat, and Cust2Mate. One of the advantages Cust2Mate has is in the synergy with the mother company, obtaining technical and technological services from it. The mechanical parts of the cart were made in the recently purchased Isramat.
Retail in itself is a complex business, a matrix with unlimited possibilities. Combining that with both the consumers interests and the financial interests of the retailer is intricate. We, the consumers, eventually get a shopping cart that scans items, weighs them if needed, charges the credit card and sends the customers off. Behind the user-friendly screen, there is a need for security algorithms that connect between the experience and the security aspects, between the efficacy and simplicity needed for the user and between the complexity of weighing meat, fruit and boxes of home cooked foods sold in the supermarket (without taking the weight of the gravy or sauce into consideration!).
BenTsur mentions that 80% of the personnel working at Cust2Mate have years of experience in retail “people who live retail and understand retail isn’t something to be taken for granted” – that is, some of the finest minds in the field have worked on creating a product that combines a positive experience on the outside and holds within thousands of nuances. A meeting point between the interests of the average consumer and of the retailer, that has been designed by people who speak the language.
Partnerships with big chains
The Cust2Mate carts can be found in most of the Yochananof supermarkets branches, and planned to have a full layout in the next few months.
According to BenTsur, in 2023 pilots are expected in 5 additional commercial chains. In the cart portfolio one can find a variety of sizes, suitable for huge complexes as well as for small city markets, Super pharm branches and others. According to Cust2Mate’s last announcement to the stock exchange, an additional 300 carts have been ordered by the chain. In addition, Cust2Mate, serves the clientele of large retailers worldwide, from New York via Mexico, France and Turkey. In Turkey there is a pilot planned in a chain with more than 2500 branches in Turkey alone.
“The potential is huge – even in the Israeli market, which is relatively small – because the product is revolutionary.” Explains BenTsur and elaborates about the “blue ocean” in a market estimated to stand at 4 billion dollars in 2024, with high growth rate goal. “An entire world is waiting for the technology that will turn a nightmarish shopping experience into a good one,” he says. Research done by Anyline confirms this, showing that 77% of online shoppers are willing to go back to instore shopping in places that offer automated shopping solutions. According to BenTsur, the research has proven itself in the Yochananof supermarkets.
From the numbers gathered by Cust2Mate, 50% of the clients who tried the cart, will go back to use it. What is more interesting, is that the purchase figures are on a rise. Retailers working with Cust2Mate carts have noticed that customers are spending longer browsing the store. BenTsur explains: “The reason is that once the fear of what is waiting for you at the cash register is dispelled, you can enjoy a calm, extended stay in the aisles”
The cart that connects between online and offline
The Cust2Mate cart comes equipped with a split screen. The one half is commercial real estate for the retailer and one of the strongest marketing tools available. The cart can turn into a meaningful player in running members clubs and Recognized Customer experience. The real connection between online and offline is completed with the cart, including the option of purchasing online products such as large electrical appliances, for example, whilst walking the supermarket aisles. Concluding the consumer journey with online activity in the store itself is, without exaggeration, the biggest dream for any marketer in this era, and the potential for retailer use of the data collected by the cart is priceless. Data that works for the marketer, and in no lesser way – for the customer’s shopping experience.
Another advantage has to do with the current job market. Many of us have come across empty cash registers. Employers from a wide variety of fields are reporting difficulties in staff recruitment, and the cart is a perfect technological solution. “The cart allows supermarkets to work past opening hours, by using smart carts.” elaborates BenTsur. “Keeping the store open will only require a security guard and a technician”.
Partnered with Cust2Mate