The retail shopping experience has been turned on its ear in recent years, as retailers continue to roll out innovative new services designed with customer convenience in mind. Now comes news of a model that takes shopper convenience to the next level: a store on wheels that visits consumers’ homes on demand.
Created by the Santa Monica, California-based startup Robomart, the mobile store is currently available only to residents of West Hollywood, a city known to locals as WeHo. According to the company, users can tap a button on their smartphone to hail a store on wheels in under 10 minutes and then shop from their own front yard.
Robomart vans currently operate with human drivers, but future versions will add driverless vehicles to the fleet as regulations allow, the firm says. Either way, the system supplies inventory from hyperlocal restocking stations to maximize speed and availability. “We’ve pioneered store-hailing, which is the fastest and most convenient way to shop,” Tigran Shahverdyan, the firm’s co-founder and CTO, said in a release. “By bringing the store to consumers, there’s no need to go to the store and no need to wait for a delivery window.”
The first mobile store, the “Pharmacy Robomart,” is now available for hailing, stocking over 500 packs of 50 everyday goods, including over-the-counter medications, first-aid supplies, toiletries and personal care products, kitchen products, and household goods. The coming weeks will bring another version known as the Grocery Robomart, giving consumers access to fresh produce and dairy items.