JUXTA, a global technology- and micro-convenience retail-company launched in August, has released further details highlighting how the brand’s autonomous Nomad micro-store provides the ideal technological solution to liberate operators from the overwhelming challenges imposed upon the convenience retail industry by the ongoing global labor shortage.
Numerous reports have underscored the magnitude of the impact caused by the global labor permacrisis across all sectors. These include forecasts of a human resources shortage of 85 million people by 2030, equating to $8.5 trillion in unrealized annual revenue (1), and the fact that almost two-thirds of small business owners report that their ability to operate effectively is adversely impacted by staff hiring challenges (2).
Aging populations with record numbers of people set to reach retirement age and leave the job market imminently, plus negative natural population growth, signify there is no solution to the global labor challenge in sight. In the US and the UK, population growth is slowing and on course to plateau, while in the Eurozone, it is set to fall. The data is also ringing alarm bells with governments to consider how and when to intervene to avoid a potential slowing of GDP (3).
“There is no shortage of evidence, both empirical and anecdotal, to illustrate the huge challenges faced by operators in the convenience retail sector,” explains Steve Liguori, one of JUXTA’s five Co-founders and Chief Marketing Officer. “Before launching the JUXTA Nomad, which is designed to provide business owners with 24-hour, unstaffed convenience retail operation, we conducted extensive market research and spoke to more than 150 retailers.
“We heard the same stories. ‘I need another thirty people for our c-stores, but it’s impossible to find the people I need to grow my business.’ ‘Staff just don’t turn up for shifts, forcing me to close the store on average two days a month.’ ‘I’m reviewing CVs, interviewing people, sourcing people… there’s some days when nothing else gets done.” ‘I am competing with Amazon, who can afford to pay better.’ ‘I’ve been trying to recruit for months for our c-stores – people don’t want to work the later shifts, so some of our stores have reduced hours.’ ‘I need a hundred people and only have seventy, and twenty of those I can’t rely on.’
“It was obvious to us at JUXTA that the convenience retail model was severely strained, and for operators, there would be no riding the storm out unless bold new solutions were created. Instead of struggling to squeeze additional growth out of the last drops out of a struggling labor model, it was time to focus on the future and provide a technical solution that addresses the labor problem and enables a new form of retail growth in micro-convenience that operates on healthy margins.”
That solution is the JUXTA Nomad, an autonomous micro convenience store, which, with its AI-powered sensor fusion technology and consumer-centric design, negates the need for full-time staff. With its fully autonomous 24/7 retail format, the JUXTA Nomad facilitates retail growth without wage and benefits expense that can reach low to mid six-figures for a traditional c-store (4 & 5). In 2022, it was a reported average expense of $193,145.
Crucially, Nomad stores deployed in North Carolina and Colorado are operating on fewer than five working hours per week for stocking, cleaning, and any planogram and product changes, which is potentially the lowest operating expense per square foot format in the retail industry. This allows the Nomad to be supported as a small part of a talented and reliable manager or team member’s weekly work, or for one employee to support multiple stores within the community. Depending on how far apart they are geographically dispersed, a single employee should be able to maintain six to eight JUXTA Nomads, throughout their weekly work.
Inside the Nomad, shelf and cabinet sensors instantly detect when an item is picked up, put back, or moved, and an array of cameras will anonymously identify by whom. The information is combined in the cloud to create a digital basket for each customer. If a family or group of shoppers enter the store, JUXTA’s AI-driven technology will collate their purchases into a single basket.
JUXTA has successfully proven the efficacy of the hardware and software that underpins its transformative retail offer to the EV charging sector and beyond. The first consumers to experience the JUXTA Nomad were Renewal 2023 festival goers in Buena Vista, Colorado, last month.
The Nomad’s ability to travel and cater to high-demand yet remote locations was on full display as it served thousands of revelers 24 hours a day during the event. Consumers can also experience Nomad stores in Denver, Colorado and Greensboro, North Carolina. Later this year consumers will have access to four additional locations across the US.
JUXTA is also in advanced negotiations with customers in Europe, where it will introduce its first Nomads in 2024.