On-Demand, Automated Ice Cream Shops Launch in LA
Store-hailing service Robomart and consumer-goods giant Unilever entered into a pilot partnership to combine Robomart’s on-demand mobile mini-marts with Unilever’s virtual Ice Cream Shop to serve Los Angeles.
Beginning this summer, Unilever will deploy a fleet of Ice Cream Robomarts stocked with sweet treats from Unilever’s portfolio of ice cream brands, including Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Good Humor, Magnum and Talenti.
Those with a craving hail the automated stores to their locations using the Robomart app, and when it arrives, the user swipes across the app to open the vehicle’s door. The store’s checkout-free system allows them to simply handpick their products and walk away without physically checking out or swiping a credit card.
“Putting a spin on the classic ice cream truck by bringing it to consumers on-demand, we have pioneered a new way for everyone to get their favorite ice cream treats in as little as two minutes,” Robomart cofounder and CEO Ali Ahmed said. “This rollout brings to life the original vision my co-founder and I had over a decade ago while working at Unilever to create ‘The Everywhere Store’ — the fastest and most accessible way to get all your essentials.”
Robomart began operating in Los Angeles in June 2021 and received a U.S. patent for its one-tap store hailing and checkout-free technology in January. The platform provides a turn-key solution for retailers, who can choose from six Robomart types: Grocery, snacks, pharmacy, cafe, ice cream and fast food.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Robomart to offer a new way to bring our virtual store, The Ice Cream Shop, to fans in Los Angeles in an innovative way,” said general manager Russel Lilly of Unilever North American Ice Cream. “Our pilot program with Robomart is revolutionizing ice cream delivery for consumers and making it even faster to get our beloved brands to our ice cream fans. What better way to shop for your favorite ice cream than just a few steps from your front door?”
Robomart, which is based in Santa Monica, California, touts its ability to deliver an entire store directly to homes while cutting out the need for users to shop on a website, create a basket, check out with a credit card, select a delivery window and communicate with delivery drivers.
Since it began operating, active users hail a Robomart 2.3 times per week on average. The company said it has recorded 9% user growth and 10% order growth per week.
“As the retail industry continues to evolve, Robomart is exceedingly well-positioned to lead the charge and be the go-to-source for retailers who want to increase ROI through non-brick and mortar transactions or delivery, and for consumers who want the fastest and most convenient way to get goods,” said Tom Gebhardt, former Panasonic USA CEO and Robomart advisor.