Are NanoStores the new ultra-convenience stores?
With shoppers desiring ever-more convenience, all sorts of new self-service shopping models were on display at the recent NRF Show in New York, including the “NanoStore.”
For those not familiar, the NanoStore, created by AiFi, a developer of store automation systems, is touted for being an ultra-convenience store. About the size of a parking spot, each unit is a completely automated convenience store that can be dropped in the parking lot of a shopping mall, office complex, college campus or virtually anywhere there is space, including indoors. It is a bit of a cross between a convenience store and a vending machine.
Shoppers enter the store by inserting their credit card and/or other ID to unlock the door. Once inside, shoppers simply browse the items on display in a single aisle format, grab them and go. If they choose, they can “check out,” although there really is no need as every item is tracked via cameras with imbedded object algorithms, sensors, etc. and a receipt is immediately e-mailed to the shopper.
While there is no human supervision at the store, the idea is for a retailer to roll these out in groups of 10 or 20, which can be replenished and supervised by the retailer. Merchants can also get real-time analytics on what’s happening in these stores, adjust items carried accordingly and analyze how shoppers behave.
Currently, NanoStores are in test. Zabka, a Polish chain with 5,400 locations throughout the country, announced plans to launch a similar format using AiFi technology at NRF earlier this month. In terms of ROI, AiFi claims payback on the units is approximately one year.
- Introducing NanoStore – AiFi
- AiFi markets NanoStore, a tiny white-label cashierless store – VentureBeat
- AiFi and the Żabka Chain of Stores Join Forces – AiFi/AccessWire
- Tech lets shoppers say ‘Optimize Me’ when ordering groceries – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is there an opportunity for stores similar to the NanoStore concept to be successful in the U.S.? Do you see these stores carrying items similar to traditional convenience stores or is there an opportunity to take merchandise selection in a new direction?