The Robotic Convenience Store

robotic convenience store

The Ultimate Apartment Property Amenity

By Michael Cunningham

It’s a dark and stormy night. It’s late. You’re packing for that big road trip with your buddies. All that remains is packing a few toiletries and washing a few shirts. Suddenly you realize that forgot to go to the store on your way home from work to pick up toothpaste, laundry detergent, snacks for the trip, and something for breakfast.

empty milk carton e1362704667191 The Robotic Convenience Store


The regular grocery stores have closed for the night. The lone neighborhood convenience store is a not so conveniently located four miles as the crow flies and nine traffic lights away (yes, you’ve counted them).

Out your window you notice a shining beacon in the night a few yards away from the leasing office and mere 60 second walk from your apartment: the property’s robotic convenience store. Within 10 minutes you’ve purchased the items you need and gotten back on schedule.

robotic grocery store e1362703744625 The Robotic Convenience Store

Vending Machines on Steroids

The Shop24 Global stores, often called vending machines on steroids, have been popping up on apartment properties in Fort Worth, Dallas, Salt Lake City, and Philadelphia, with another installation planned in Houston.

The free-standing kiosks don’t look anything like a vending machine. They are self-contained units that occupy about an 8’x9’x13’ footprint. A robotic arm grabs items like sandwiches, drinks, and snacks – even household staples like soap, toothpaste, and laundry detergent – and drops them into a bin. Cash, along with credit and debit cards, are accepted.

vending machine supplies e1362704111633 The Robotic Convenience Store

Robotic Convenience Stores: The Ultimate Resident Amenity

The stores have been widely used on college campuses on the East Coast for the past few years and debuted at apartments last year in Texas.

At each community, residents have had a say in what kind of items are stocked in the stores, which maintain a 36-degree temperature. Additionally, robotic vending machines offer not only convenience but more security in making single-item purchases, especially in gated communities or when stations are confined to secure, well-lighted areas.

What do you think? If an apartment community featured a robotic convenience store as a resident amenity, would that sway your decision to rent there?


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