At the end of 2016, the Swedish startup, Näraffär, was acquired by Wheelys, an alumn from both VentureLab in Lund and Ycombinator. Näraffär is the world’s first system for staffless stores and it is today one of the critical components in Wheelys new autonomous, staffless and mobile store.
The project launched June 13 under the name The Moby Mart, and the convenience store can now be seen on the streets of Shanghai. Robert Ilijason, the Swedish entrepreneur behind Näraffär, will stay on as a technical advisor on the project.
I’ve been a part of the project with Wheelys all throughout development, but many people has been involved. The decision to make the concept mobile was self-evident as it ties into wheelys core business model,” says Ilijason in an interview with Ehandel.se
Customers gain access to the store via an app and the same app is used for payment. The store is driving solely on solar power and it is able to refill itself during the night.
“When the rules and regulations are in order, it will be possible for our self-driving stores to be in one city one day and in another the next day, During the night, it drives by itself and fills up with goods. Customers can even order products which can’t be found in the usual assortment, so that they will be delivered the next day,” says Ilijason.
The shop costs under $100.000 to produce which is only a fraction of the production cost of a traditional store. Robert sees the shop as a taste of what is to come in the area of retail. Next step will be to develop a fleet of autonomous stores and introduce them to Lapland.
Wheelys is an international provider of mobile stores. Their main product is an all-in-one café on a bike, ready with all a retailer needs to start a business. They currently have over 900 mobile cafés in 73 countries.