Cashierless micro-store could soon pop up at EV charging stations
Drivers of electric vehicles will currently have to hang around when calling at public chargers for a top-up. Those looking to stock up on snacks while passing the time could soon find a cashier-free mini convenience store popping up at charging stations across the US courtesy of a startup based in North Carolina.
Though battery charging technology is getting closer to offering drivers a top-up experience similar to gas station fill-ups, electric vehicles today will need to park up and plug in for a while.
Auto makers such as Audi and Porsche are already exploring luxurious customer lounges at dedicated charging hubs, but Juxta – a venture under POS and payments systems provider Gilbarco Veeder-Root, which is a subsidiary of industrial tech firm Vontier – is aiming more for a convenience store vibe.
Its Nomad micro-store has been designed as a turn-key retail solution for EV charging stations or H2 refueling stops that can be trucked in fully equipped and assembled, and can operate 24/7 without the need for staff – in a similar fashion to solutions from Amazon, Wheelys and 7-Eleven.
There's 264 sq ft (24/5 sq m) of floorspace inside, where retailers can stock the "state-of-the-art shelving and presentation units" with up to 600 fast-turnover items. Customers gain access using any debit or credit card, and sensors work with cameras to register what they remove from shelves.
This data is used to generate a digital basket in the cloud, and folks can verify purchases on a large touchscreen near the exit, or shoppers can simply pick up and go – "entrusting the technology to record their purchases and charge their credit or debit card as appropriate."
Juxta recently partnered with Denver-based retailer Choice Market to offer festival goers at Renewal 2023 in Buena Vista the first public taste of an unstaffed micro-store. This will be followed by the first Choice Market Nomad on the retailer's home turf shortly. Wire Park in Watkinsville, Georgia, is also set to open a Nomad thanks to another retail partnership with Golden Pantry Food Stores. And Nomad's could soon be installed at EV charging stations.
"To be signing retail partners and fielding enquiries from some of the largest EV OEMs in the world is validation of Juxta’s vision for the Nomad solution," said company co-founder, Om Shanker. "Our proprietary technology and store format combination, working in partnership with renowned brands, has the power to redefine the industry.
"Our solution mitigates multitude challenges in the retail segment, from real estate cost and utilization, squeezed profit margins, access to 24-hr service, labor shortages and staffing issues, including instant, simple and contactless pay, and quick set up, in any location, no matter how remote. The Nomad offers an all ‘round seamless solution to these challenges and at the same time, we believe it to be the most profitable per square foot convenience retail format in the world."