Jetsons Have Nothing On This Supercenter
By George Anderson
A piece in the Arizona Daily Star says AutoCart, a planned 130,000 square-foot drive-through supercenter to be built in Tucson, Ariz. or Albuquerque, N.M., sounds as if it were straight out of an episode of the Jetsons.
The idea behind AutoCart is to make shopping more convenient by giving consumers the option of placing an order online or via fax and picking it up. Customers will also be able to drive to the store and order through a wireless touch screen that attaches to the steering wheel.
When orders are placed, workers pick and pack the selections and move them along a conveyor belt until they reach the checkout destination. The creators of AutoCart say they will be able to help shoppers fill a two-week major shopping trip order in 12 minutes.
AutoCart will sell a wide range of goods, including groceries, hardware and office supplies. The company expects to be able to process up to 600 cars per hour.
AutoCart’s chief executive, CEO Michael Saigh, said it is looking at medium-size cities such as Tucson to initially test the concept because it did not want to be deluged with more customer traffic than could be handled.
Mr. Saigh is bullish on his and AutoCart’s prospects. “The technology exists, and the mood in America is ripe for this concept,” he said.
Not all share the AutoCart CEO’s faith.
Author, media personality and industry analyst Phil Lempert said, “I can see a drive-through convenience-store kiosk working well but not this mammoth thing.”
Moderator’s Comment: Are consumers ready for AutoCart? What will it take for it to succeed? –
George Anderson – Moderator