Very few companies go wrong when they focus on the consumer. Today, startup Nourish + Bloom Market is focusing on the consumer while integrating consumer facing technology that will save time starved consumers both time and money.
Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® stated Gen Z and Millennials are digital natives and they expect technology to continue to help them live “The Life”. More important technology adds relevance for them and when you combine the ability to save both time and money they will migrate too and adopt brands that can do that and Nourish + Bloom Market just might just be the company to disrupt the legacy grocery store business model once and for all.”
Technology systems integrator UST has formed a partnership with Nourish + Bloom Market that they said has the potential to open more than 500 autonomous grocery stores. Johnson said this new grocery store format platform with drive new electricity into the grocery sector while elevating Nourish + Bloom Markets brand with new electricity.
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The store will be operating 24/7, Nourish + Bloom stocks over 1,500 SKUs, including produce, meat, baked goods, dairy, center-store groceries, household items and prepared meals. The store is anchored by a section called Bistro, which offers freshly made breakfast, lunch and dinner items such as sandwiches, salads and healthy rice bowls. Nourish + Bloom noted that it favors local brands to help reduce its carbon footprint. Yes, that’s right they have positioned the store right in the middle of grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared niche.
Jilea Hemmings, founder and CEO of Nourish + Bloom Market, stated, “The idea of the store occurred to us during the pandemic. We wanted to provide a solution for customers where they wouldn’t have to wait in line or touch anything while checking out,” she explained. “With UST’s help, we have successfully created a hybrid autonomous technology to offer that solution and combat food insecurities in underserved communities. We are confident that this technology will change how customers shop in the next three to five years.”
So, Nourish + Bloom is powered by an end-to-end Autonomous Store in Box solution from Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based UST, including retail back-office software, the Bistro module, and full integration services for diverse systems to provide a frictionless shopping experience. Shoppers enter by scanning a QR code from a UST-built mobile app at a turnstile. Items selected are tracked via LiDAR (light detection and ranging) cameras and automatically added to a virtual shopping cart, with the information is sent to a back-end software developed by UST.
More than you see as, UST Vision Checkout is used for large merchandise assortment outside the autonomous store. The self-checkout point-of-sale system employs computer vision to identify products, while voice and gesture artificial intelligence technologies speed checkout for Nourish + Bloom customers, UST said.
The POS solution also uses barcode-scanning and touchscreen functionality for specific merchandise sections like age-restricted products, frozen foods, and fruit and vegetables, as well as the Bistro prepared foods section. The UST Product Box tool provides quick onboarding of SKUs requiring computer vision training, and the UST Cold Truth solution brings IoT-based, real-time food temperature measurement at shelf level to foster more efficient operations.
The automated product recognition in Nourish & Bloom Market store is performed by SHEKEL Brainweigh’s Product Aware Technology (PAT), based on IoT load sensors, AI models and machine learning algorithms, UST said. Hitachi Vantara provides the store’s 3D LiDAR technology, which enables monitoring of customers throughout the aisles and linking products to their shopping cart.
Subhodip Bandyopadhyay, general manager of emerging technology for UST, stated, “The store uses UST Vision Checkout for large merchandise assortment outside the autonomous store. UST Vision Checkout is a self-checkout POS that uses computer vision to identify SKUs”. “Along with this, voice and gesture AI technology leads to a three-times faster checkout experience for customers of Nourish + Bloom. Hybrid autonomous store technology uses Intel’s Edge optimized technology infrastructure and uses multiple Microsoft technologies, including Azure Cloud.”
It works in a hand-held format that so many Gen Z and Millennials use, as Nourish + Bloom also offers online grocery service via a UST-built e-commerce app, including delivery, coffee and Bistro subscriptions. UST’s autonomous store system also is integrates with self-driven vehicles from DAX robotics for last-mile delivery. Delivery robots named “Nourish” and “Bloom” also deliver online orders in temperature-controlled compartments right to customers’ doorsteps.
According to Johnson, “Brand relevance is in part driven with innovation in new food products in combination with new avenues of distribution all of which are the platform for the new electricity.”
Johnson stated “that in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply and includes such things as fresh foods, smaller footprint, developing brands, unique urban clothing, grocerant positioning, fresh food messaging, autonomous delivery, cashier-less retail, plates, glasses, cash-less payments, digital hand-held marketing.
All retailers to survive the next generation of retail must embrace the artificial intelligence revolution while simultaneously embracing fresh food that is portable according to Johnson.
Do your food marketing ideas look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Interested in learning how our Grocerant Guru® can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization? Email us at: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us or visit: us on our social media sites by clicking one of the following links: Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter