It’s a time of unprecedented change in the industry and it shows no signs of slowing. From mobile supermarkets to checkout free shopping, here’s a look at some of the technology that could impact the way consumers shop.
Moby Mart is a staff-less (unless holographic cashiers count), self-driving, 24-hour supermarket that can be summoned through a mobile app. Shoppers scan what items they need and checkout using their smartphone. A prototype, developed by Wheelys in cooperation with Hefei University and Himalafy, is up and running in Shanghai and is stocked with milk and lunch items.
British online supermarket Ocado tested an electric, self-driving delivery van called CargoPod in south-east London last month. The vehicle is equipped with eight compartments that can carry a total weight of 128kg, and is intended for short journeys or last minute deliveries within urban centres. Meanwhile, delivery service Postmates is using knee-high, six-wheeled robots made by Starship Technologies to bring groceries to customers. Customers put their orders in online and once the robot arrives, they get a text with a code to unlock it and grab their order.
Checkout free shopping
Mobile technology could save customers from waiting in long checkout lines. Smartphone app Skip allows shoppers to scan items as they shop and conveniently keeps a tally of their order as they go. The app is linked to the user’s credit card, debit card or Apple Pay, giving them the freedom to leave the store once they’re shopping is complete — no lineup and no checkout. The app also helps users pinpoint items in and keeps stores the user’s purchase history and receipts. Amazon has been testing a similar “just walk out” experience with employees in Seattle at its Amazon Go concept store and a proprietary app. Slated to open to the public in “early 2017,” Amazon reportedly delayed the opening because of technical issues.