24-hour convenience store
A prototype of a new 24-hour convenience store in Shanghai has no staff, no registers and has been designed on wheels in order to eventually drive itself to a warehouse to restock, or to a customer to make a delivery.
Customers must download an app and use their phone to enter the store where they can either scan what they wish to buy or place it in a smart basket that tracks purchases. Upon exiting, the customer’s card is automatically charged (much like a system Amazon has also been trialling).
The small shop will stock fresh food and other daily supplies, and if customers would like something else they can order it using the store’s artificial intelligence. The item will be waiting for them next time they shop.
The start-up behind it believes that it’s the model for the grocery store of the future. Because it’s both mobile and far cheaper to build and operate than a typical store, it could also help bring better access to groceries to food deserts and rural areas where neighbours could also club together to create their own franchise.
When autonomous vehicles are allowed on roads, the store could also show up at local’s homes, and the company is also testing a set of drones to make small deliveries.