Stores On Wheels Robomart start-up scales up with Unilever partnership
A different kind of mobile ice cream shop will start circulating in parts of Los Angeles next month thanks to a partnership between start-up Robomart and consumer goods giant Unilever.
Robomart’s goal is to make delivery from a store as easy as calling an Uber
Robomart-Unilever vans will be decorated with signage for The Ice Cream Shop, a virtual storefront created by Unilever to make it easier for consumers to order its ice cream brands from delivery services like Uber Eats and Grubhub
Robomart vans have drivers, but consumers can open the van door, select an item and pay with a smartphone app, without having to interact with the driver.
“The real beauty of our shopping model is that you don’t have to spend time creating a cart, you don’t have to search for a specific item,” said Ali Ahmed, CEO and co-founder of Robomart. “You press a button to call this store to come to you.”
The company’s checkout system uses RFID to track the products a customer removes from the van. “You literally take the products you want and walk away,” Ahmed said.
Robomart was founded in 2017 and launched its first delivery vans in West Hollywood and Hollywood a year ago. Ice Cream Shop vans will also deliver to West Hollywood and Hollywood.
Earlier this year, Robomart was granted a patent for its free one-click call and pay-in-store technology. The company promises its vans can deliver products in as little as two minutes, with a much easier ordering experience for the consumer.
Robomart has received seed funding from accelerator and incubator programs and start-up investors.
The Unilever partnership could pave the way for more Robomart collaborations with major brands and retail chains.
Ahmed, who founded the company with chief strategy officer Emad Suhail Rahim and chief technology officer Tigran Shahverdyan, said the company has seen increased interest in vans from brands and retailers over the past few years. last months.
The company has signed nearly 100 reservations for Robomart vans, with merchants ranging from local cafes and cafes, convenience stores and ready-to-eat convenience food businesses, Ahmed said.
Merchants own the inventory and already have their own storefronts, online or physical. Robomart allows them to add a mobile option to their existing operations, Ahmed said. “We can work with retailers, CPG companies and even brands as long as they have their own dedicated storefront,” he said.
Robomart had a booth in the Innovation Lab exhibit at the National Retail Federation convention in January. Media coverage of the appearance generated inquiries from brands including Unilever, Ahmed said.
“We continue to see very strong inbound interest from merchants and retailers,” he said.
The partnership with Unilever is a pilot program.
Unilever sees Robomart as “a new way to bring our virtual store, The Ice Cream Shop, to fans in Los Angeles in an innovative way,” said Russel Lilly, general manager, Unilever North American Ice Cream, in comments made. when entering into the partnership. announcement.
The Robomart partnership is “revolutionizing ice cream delivery for consumers,” Lilly said. “What better way to buy your favorite ice cream than just steps from your front door?”
Consumers who download the Robomart app can call the ice cream van at home, press to open the van door to reveal cases of ice cream, make a selection and have payment automatically processed on their phone.
Robomart, in effect, provides the technology that enables brands and merchants to create a mobile store, Ahmed said.
“We are the platform to enable this new experience, to be able to hail a mobile store and be able to shop right at your doorstep in as little as two minutes,” Ahmed said.
Ice Cream Shop vans are expected to start rolling in time for National Ice Cream Day, July 17.