Have you ever wondered what supermarkets of the future would look like? Did you ever consider an online alternative to getting your groceries?
I am a surfer. I like to surf in the mornings. Then, sometimes, I do my grocery shopping. Once inside a supermarket, it is always the same thing. Looking for favorite brands, hunting for good prices, standing in lines, etc.. On average, a supermarket trip takes about 1 hour door to door. Does it have to be this way? Is there an alternative?
Well, there could be. I own an iPhone. Why can't I open an iPhone app, log into my virtual store account, and order items that I want, delivered to me within a reasonable time frame, from 20 min to 1 hour. This app can have a history of my previous orders, a list of my favorite items and brands, a list of most frequently bought items, etc.. anything to streamline my shopping experience. Would something like this be useful? Could this actually substitute a physical trip to the supermarket? If this saves me 1 hour a day and removes supermarket headaches, I am ready for change.
How could something like this actually be implemented? Well, let's go back to good old warehouse approach. Dry food can be stored in clean and secure compounds. There could be special sections for frozen items, items in bulk, produce, cold cuts, prepared foods, bakery, etc.. Such warehouses could be automated to stock, fetch, and package desired items. Deliveries could be made by a fleet of specially designed delivery trucks. Each warehouse will be responsible for an allocated area and will have a number of delivery trucks assigned to it based on population density.
What are the benefits of this approach? Well, for me, I get to go home after surfing and have my food waiting at the door. For food distributors, this is probably something to think about. Here is a list of possible benefits:
1. Higher availability of favorite brands
2. Easier inventory management
3. Reduced city traffic
4. Reduced need for large parking lots
5. Energy savings
6. Increased general public productivity
7. Cheaper prices
So the big question is, are we ready for online food shopping experience?