Convenience Store and Consumers on Automatic

Discussion
Jun 10, 2003

By George Anderson


Automated retailing’s time has come. At least that’s what Mike Rivalto, owner
of SmartMart, an automated convenience store in Memphis, Tenn., is counting
on.


According to the Commercial Appeal, customers can drive in or walk up
to a computer touch screen to select from up to 1,800 products available at
SmartMart. The machine accepts payments by cash, credit or debit card and delivers
purchased items through a drawer.


Development of the SmartMart including gas pumps costs approximately $100,000
more up front than a 3,000 square foot convenience store. Once built, however,
the labor savings are substantial as a single control center worker can operate
the entire business.


Moderator’s Comment: Are “consumers ready to embrace”
automated stores such as SmartMart?


The novelty will attract attention. Repeat purchase will
follow trial if (Big If) the shopping experience (convenience, price, quality
of product) meets the expectations of shoppers.


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