In the technologically advanced country where the Ericsson inventors of 4G reside and the popular music streaming site Spotify was created, it should be of no surprise that the technology for an unmanned grocery store was born in Sweden. Requiring only a 60-second credit check and an app that does the rest, creator Robert Ilijason invented a solution for his village and possibly for small towns all over the world.
One evening, after dropping the very last jar of baby food, a panicked Ilijason found himself driving the 11 miles between his tiny village of Viken to the nearest grocery store in Helsingborg. During the entire drive, Ilijason kept thinking that technology could make this situation simpler. There was no reason for him to have to venture far for just a jar of baby food.
Like many towns and villages around the world, Viken was without even a tiny grocer. With only an estimated 4000 inhabitants, all of the locally owned shops had been replaced by big box stores in the larger town of Helsingborg, nearly a half hour away. Ilijason had an idea that perhaps he could take the idea of an unmanned fitness gym and apply that concept to a grocery store.
Ilijason then created an app that could manage all of the functions necessary for customers to shop, purchase and even request particular items. He then stocked the 480-square foot former post office with basic foodstuffs including milk and bread, as well as other essential items such as diapers and toilet paper. For security, he added cameras. In addition, if the door is left open for longer than 8 seconds, he will receive an SMS. Ilijason lives just down the street so he can just run over to check things out. To further dissuade any thieves, the store does not stock tobacco nor any medications.
After entering the store using their Bank ID app, customers pick out items and use the app to scan the barcodes. At the end of the month, each customer will receive a bill for full payment. In a nation that is predicted to go cashless by 2030, this modern way of shopping seems very natural to this technologically advanced country.
Currently, the only concern with this sort of 2.0 grocery store is that some of the less tech savvy seniors may have some issues using the app. According to the Associated Press, Ilijason advised that in order to accommodate these customers, they may add a person behind the store register for a few hours each day.
Adding small 2.0 stores like this could be a life changer not only residents of smaller towns, but for many of the elderly. This could give them self reliance and the ability to remain alone in their homes for a longer period of time.