Alphabot solves the most challenging problem in food retail today, which is how to combine physical stores and online retail. It is the first and only automated each-picking technology specifically designed to be deployed into stores to pick orders for customers. Indeed, Alphabot makes possible a new kind of supermarket, which we call Novastore, in which all orders for packaged-goods SKUs are picked by Alphabot, whether ordered by customers remotely and batch-picked by Alphabot, or ordered in the store and picked in real time. The center store is thus replaced by an Alphabot picking system, and is combined with a self-service fresh market that offers customers the option of selecting their own fresh items, but without any checkout bottleneck. (Customers can also order fresh goods online, of course, and these items can be picked by "proxy pickers", such as store associates or 3rd-party service providers, or pre-packed and picked by the Alphabot system.)
Such an "automated-service" supermarket will simultaneously provide quantum improvements to both customer experience and retail operating economics, compared to self-service supermarkets, and especially when compared to conventional "multi-channel" approaches to combining self-service and online. We believe that customers in ever-increasing numbers will happily give up the chore of picking their own packaged-goods orders and let Alphabot robots do it for them, but many will still prefer to pick their own fresh goods so that they can select the specific items they wish to buy. The beauty of Novastore is that it gives the customer tremendous choice and flexibility: on any given shopping occasion, they can buy everything in the store, order everything remotely, or order some items remotely and others in the store; and they can also either collect their order at the store or have it delivered.
In short, we believe that Novastore will represent the dawn of a new era in food retail.