Can’t make it to the grocery store before it closes? No problem— a robotic kiosk with 24/7 self-service might be coming to a neighborhood near you.
Cleveron, an Estonian company which makes Walmart’s in-store pickup towers, has introduced a shipping container sized unit that is temperature controlled. Grocery store staff fill the unit with online orders that are physically moved into place and dispensed via robotic controls to arriving customers.
The kiosks are self-operating and can be positioned in parking lots or other areas convenient for customer pick-up. The idea is that kiosks placed far away from stores can service consumers who are not close enough to the actual grocery store, while the kiosks near stores can help consumers pickup orders after the store itself closes.
Online grocery order fulfillment has advanced quite a bit in the last year for both delivery and curbside pickup. The robotic kiosk give grocers another option for their customers, but we’re not sure how much consumer demand there would be to pick up your grocery order at 2 a.m.
A Grocery Dive article, excerpted below, covers the topic further:
“As automated technology continues to spread across the grocery industry, startup Cleveron has unveiled a new robotic pickup kiosk that can retrieve customer orders within 20 seconds, according to a company press release emailed to Grocery Dive.
“Workers fill the robotic kiosk with grocery orders, then customers scan a mobile QR code or enter a passcode at the console to retrieve their groceries. The unit operates similar to an order vending system Walmart began testing in 2017 at a store in Oklahoma, though a different company manufactures that system. Cleveron also manufactures Walmart’s Pickup Towers, which store non-grocery pickup orders for customers and debuted in stores three years ago.
“The Cleveron unit comes in two sizes — a 23-foot-long version and a 43-foot-long one. Both are roughly the width of a parking spot. The smaller unit holds 124 crates while the larger unit holds 276 crates. Each crate can be manufactured with one or two temperature zones to accommodate perishables, general merchandise and frozen goods.”
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Director, Merchant Services at Mercator Advisory Group