Grocery shopping is such a drag.
It’s inefficient, time-consuming and the line-ups. Makes no sense.
I think the time it takes to conduct grocery shopping can be reduced by a significant margin. I’m thinking 90% of the time spent, if not more, could be saved by virtue of this design that I’ve been thinking of.
This 90% bucket is generally spent on three specific set of activities:
So I started thinking. How can the entire design be changed in such a way, so that:
Originally, I thought of this idea a while back. I think it was 9 years ago and on my first visit to California. For some reason, I get a lot of ideas when I’m just sitting by the beach. But the technology to do something like what I had envisioned did not exist at the time. Not to this scale.
I think the technology is now available. Thus the ‘process’ by which grocery shopping is conducted, seems to be ripe for disruption.
Here is the idea in a nutshell. A process, that explains the idea in a bit more detail, has also been documented below.
The idea is actually quite simple. Think of it as as merger between “Google Streetview + Online shopping + a secured quasi conveyor belt for delivering the boxed goods to the consumer”
This process is obviously just one of the ways, that this idea could be implemented. If not disruption, then this idea is ready to mingle with other ideas.
1- You’d go on a webpage and you’d be presented with a very simple blueprint/map for the store.
2- Once you select a category, you’d then have the option to navigate through the actual area/aisle as if you were actually there.
So it’d be something like this:
For the purpose of navigating through something like this.
3- You could then move around. Escape to the blueprint area, in order to go to another section. You could, select items. Now, I can’t find an image that displays what I’m actually thinking right now and too lazy to draw it. But it’d be something like this (below). It doesn’t necessarily have to be touchscreen for the MVP.
4 – Next, you’d simply add the item to your cart and you may proceed to the checkout, if you so desire.
5- Once at the on-line check-out phase. You’d then have the ability to pick and choose a time-slot when you’d like to come and pickup your order. A simple UI could do the job.
6- Once the financial transaction has occurred and the payment is received. Your order is simply going to be placed in queue.
7- A QR code would automatically be sent to your email, as well as a mobile application that you would have already downloaded on your smartphone. You’d use this QR code for your order pickup.
8- For the purpose of security, you’d have two levels of authentication. One would be the QR code. The other one could be a unique code that you’d choose. (temporary or persistent with user profiles).
9- Now, in the back-end. As soon your order is placed an entire process is going to be triggered. The intent would be to ensure, that your order is ready for pickup for the date/time that you have mentioned.
10- The next series of steps, will be transparent to the user. Workers are going to be dispatched. They would do the shopping for you. They would place the items in a box which has the same QR code printed on it, as the one that you have been provided with.
11- The workers are going to scan every single item to ensure that it matches with the item that is on your list. There will be provisions in the system and the intent would be to verify that the order has been completed as desired by the consumer. That the items match the exact specifications.
12- The box is going to be placed in a temporary storage area. Preferably a cool/dry place. The design can always be changed based on specifications. If space is a consideration, then the system can be tweaked in such a way that orders are placed 30 to 40 minutes before they are received. That would entail that the business hire more workers. Meaning, more jobs! Or maybe, just more robots.
13- Delivery: On the date and time of the delivery. The user would simply visit the store. They would let the machine scan the QR code that is on their smartphone or that they have printed. They would plug in the second level of authentication (whatever that may be). Next, they would wait for their box to arrive. The box containing their groceries is going to be delivered through a secured/quasi conveyor belt that has the ability to deliver the boxed goods to a pertinent user. I’ve thought a little bit about the dispersal. The user would have to scan the box again, so that the machine can release it to it’s rightful owner.
Multiple outlets for dispersal may have to be designed, in order to avoid congestion.
The other idea for dispersal, was basically storage locations around the city. A place where boxed goods could be delivered. A place that is closer to the pickup location that the consumer would prefer. Items that require refrigeration could be a problem. But alliances could be made and solutions would be invented. That all comes down to the opportunity cost.
Hoping that someone can pick this idea and implement it. So that we can all avoid the drudgery that grocery shopping is today.
I haven’t done the costing. But I suspect that the major expenditure would be for the conveyor belt. A simplified version of a conveyor belt could be implemented. Many ideas along those lines.