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Saturday, March 22, 2008

From Car Shopping: AutoCart

An area of interest for me has been the history and evolution of retail spaces and how these can be utilized by consumer package goods companies. Clarence Saunders of the Piggly Wiggly chain claims to have created the first self-service grocery chain in 1916. Since the 1940s there have been many versions of drive through convenience and pharmas, common today. A company that is trying to take this drive-through experience to a yet more convenient and consolidated level is Autocart, which I have posted about previously. Have also had a conversation with the founders. One particular aspect of this idea was to have a warehouse with many SKUs connected to the drive through, essentially providing a supercenter selection with drive through convenience. Press releases have indicated that their first center would be built in Albuquerque NM in 2006, and a release last year that mentioned Oklahoma City, but I have seen no indication that this came about. If you take a look at their current web site it appears that they are creating a number of variations of the basic idea. A recent paper included in their site says that a Midwestern US retailer will be testing their AutoTram concept in early 2008. Concept is intriguing. Still waiting for the experience of an actual implementation.

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