The Next Step: Driverless Supermarkets That Come To You

The Lempert Report
February 15, 2019

Stop & Shop supermarket is planning to have self-driving supermarkets that go directly to the shoppers.

For a couple years now we have been talking about driverless vehicles, and before that we talked about how certain cities like Detroit and Miami have had entrepreneurs convert busses and trucks to mobile supermarkets. But now, Stop & Shop supermarket is planning to have self-driving supermarkets that go directly to the shoppers.

All you have to do is request a stop via an app and wait on the sidewalk. The chain is beginning its test this spring in Boston, and if successful will no doubt roll it out in the other cities where they operate. There is no word how or if their Peapod division will be involved or what if any the additional cost to the shopper might be.

Obviously the vehicles won’t carry Stop & Shop’s full assortment of 50,000 plus SKUs but they will carry an assortment of produce, meal kits and convenience items, where shoppers can select what they want. 

The vehicles’ grab-and-go technology, similar to what we have seen in Amazon Go, automatically records the products selected, charges them, and emails the shopper a receipt. 

One of the biggest complaints that online food shoppers have is the quality of the produce that the “picker” selects and they are stuck with. This store solves that problem and allows the customer to select the produce and other items themselves. It also eliminates the other concerns of online shopping – having a stranger come to your home and having to wait around for that delivery in a two-hour window.

It’s a smart idea, that we applaud and hope that it is a success.