After launching Wheely247, the world’s first unmanned and application-controlled convenience store, the Swedish start-up is deploying a 100% standalone mobile store concept for night shopping. The goal: put an end to the hegemony of the big shopping centres and to breathe life to the countryside and the suburbs. Two examples that illustrate how phygital is coming to life.
Connected store: sellers a relic of the past?
Accessible 24/7, Wheely247 is a connected store without employees, cash or queues. With his smartphone, the customer comes to the entrance of the store. The Wheely247 system recognises him thanks to the prior installation of the dedicated application. Doors open automatically; the design evokes a giant vending machine. Inside, the customer selects his products from a dozen references (chocolate, chips, bread, cheese, cigarettes) and scans their barcodes. Once his shopping is over, he leaves the store. Finaly, his credit card is automatically charged.
If Wheely247 only exists in Shanghai, its concept is reminiscent of Amazon GO – the cashless stores which is more advanced as it excludes the individual scanning of products. Wheelys’ business model drags the attention because small retailers can purchase the system. Wheelys executives are ambitious: “As Uber transformed the taxi industry, we do with retail!” And they see far away: retailers seem interested in their new concept of mobile night shop.
Moby, night mobile commerce
Moby is a 100% mobile night shop concept. Moby’s concept is very simple: it is the store that comes to the consumer and not the other way around. Why the countryside and the suburbs could not also benefit from shopping facilities as is the case in the big cities? And if buying yogurt at 22 o’clock in the countryside was easy? And if “everything, immediately and anywhere” became possible even at night outside metropolises? Wheelys executives dream of ending the domination of impersonal and gigantic shopping centers by offering consumers a personalized shopping experience that really makes their lives easier.
A digital store delivered by drones
Thanks to the AI and the Cloud, drones automatically monitor the status of the stock and the energy charge of the shop. If needed, these “Moby units” return to the base for replenishment or charging battery. The drones are also programmed to share stocks between “Moby units”. If a product arrives at a critical availability threshold, a unit with a compatible and available inventory can be requested by an insufficient unit. From there, they connect to organise an appointment and proceed to the exchange of goods. Inside, the entire store is controlled by IA. “Hol”, a holographic store assistant, is there to help shoppers assign their purchases and respond to any questions. With Wheelys, the connected store comes to life and the phygital extends beyond the big cities.