Consumers in New York, Chicago, Denver and other US cities as well as in London in the UK will soon be able to purchase items from remotely controlled robotic mobile vending machines with a tap of their contactless payment card or mobile wallet.
The Mobile Smart Stores incorporate NFC payment readers in the lids of boxes containing the products for sale, enabling users to select the item they wish to purchase and unlock the relevant container by making a successful contactless payment.
Cameras allow remote operators to ensure users are charged the correct amount if they take more than one item from a container.
The mobile smart stores are being rolled out by last-mile robot delivery service provider Tortoise with retailers including Choice Market in Denver, Edith’s Eatery and Grocery Co in Brooklyn, Go Grocer in Chicago and Jiffy in London among the first to deploy the technology, according to a Progressive Grocer report.
“While consumers purchase goods from the mobile stores, Tortoise remote teleoperators are monitoring transactions and playing responsive audio messages to ensure a smooth consumer experience,” the publication says.
“Mobile Smart Stores aim to help merchants boost sales and profits, with no added capital, infrastructure or staffing necessary. Tortoise provides the hardware and service at no upfront cost to merchants; the company’s only fee is keeping 10% of gross sales.
“An additional advantage of the Mobile Smart Store is that it can travel to places other automated vehicles can’t, like inside local parks.”