Chinese shoppers will soon be able to make their groceries come when called as a new convenience store on wheels takes off.
The world’s first unmanned-convenience-supermarket-on-wheels, Moby-Mart, is currently in the prototyping stage and its Chinese designers are spruiking it as the mini-mart of the future.
Dubbed by the company as ‘the simplest shopping ever’, Moby-Mart is the result of a collaboration between Swedish company Wheelys Inc. and Chinese university Hefei University and Himalafy.
The innovation is light years ahead of the current meaning of the phrase ‘store on wheels’, as it is does not require humans to staff it or manage the store.
A statement on the company’s website said: “The Moby-Mart is an autonomous, staffless, mobile store, turning every parking space in the world into a potential new 24-hour store.”
Their end goal for the convenience store is to have drone deliveries for maintaining stock levels.
Wheelys co-founder Per Cromwell said retail as we know it will disappear.
“Stores will become powered by apps, they will become accessible 24/7, and they will become mobile,” he said as reported by News.com.au.
The company said the core element of Moby-Mart is a simple mobile phone app that is used to scan items and calculate their total cost.
“You then click checkout and your pre-registered credit card is charged,” they said.
“Using this simple system shortens the time [spent] shopping by 30 to 60 per cent and gives you better control of all your expenses.
“The main advantage is that there is no need for complicated new infrastructure for the store.”
Currently, the company is working to make Moby-Mart completely autonomous with self-driving technology, meaning it can travel anywhere that customers need it to be.
Wheelys are developing an artificial intelligence program to greet customers by name, encourage them to stick to a spending budget, and provide recipes and suggestions unique to each customer’s experience.
This story originally appeared on C&I Retailing.
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