We’ve seen quite a few innovations lately around grab-n-go and cashier-less payment which got us thinking, maybe the futuristic shopping method isn’t so futuristic after all. A combination of emerging technologies has led to the capabilities we likely will quickly see take over industries far beyond these initial applications.
First, we saw the opening of the flagship Amazon Go store in Seattle. This prototype, automated convenience store is equipped with countless cameras and sensors watching patrons’ every move from when they arrive and scan the Amazon Go app to when they “just walk out.” These cameras and sensors keep track of what patrons take (and don’t put back) from the convenience store shelves. When they leave, their Amazon account is charged for the items purchased. Boom, done.
While that definitely is a time-efficiency improvement for grab-n-go grocery shopping, retailers need to consider the expansion of food delivery services. From meal prep kits like HelloFresh to straightforward order deliveries like Peapod and Postmates, many shoppers are choosing to avoid brick and mortar stores all together. At recurring pain point for many of these shoppers is fresh produce. They are relying on being sent the freshest produce rather than have the opportunity to select it themselves as they would at a standard store – in fact 85% of people polled do not purchase produce online for these reasons.
Robomart, debuted at CES 2018 and set to begin a pilot program this summer, utilized self-driving technology to become an autonomous refrigerated grocery store on wheels. Hail the closest robot and use the app to unlock the vehicle. Users can then personally select their perishable items. Then, like Amazon Go shops, they are billed only for the items they select.
It will be interesting to see how quickly cashier-less payment catches on (probably not long since self-checkout is already pretty dated) and how self-driving technology changes industries beyond automotive and transportation.