Choice Market to Launch Juxta's Micro Autonomous Store

Technology startup Juxta recently trialed its first unstaffed, portable "Nomad" shopping units in North Carolina, and it has further roll-out plans for the U.S. and Europe.
Jacqueline Barba
Digital Editor
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Juxta, a technology company and venture by Vontier Corporation, exclusively told Path to Purchase Institute sibling brand Chain Store Age (CSA) that Denver-based convenience retailer Choice Market is preparing to launch Juxta’s “Nomad” store. Choice Market operates four stores in Denver and one location in Aurora, Colorado.

Juxta has introduced an autonomous micro-convenience store that is unstaffed and portable. The stores are designed to equip retailers with a physical concept that goes beyond traditional brick-and-mortar.

Customers will be able to shop at the Choice Market Nomad store like they normally would with traditional debit or credit card, or a mobile wallet such as Apple Pay or Google Pay, per CSA. An artificial intelligence-based computer vision system paired with automated shelf sensors tracks the products in a customer’s basket in real time, similar to Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology at its Go stores.

Juxta says this concept was primarily designed to support the increasing number of electric vehicle charging stations, according to a recent media release, allowing drivers and passengers to purchase food and drinks while waiting for their vehicles to charge. 

Because of their small, portable nature, Juxta says its Nomad format can be fully installed and operational within 12 hours for use in various environments including festivals, events, college campuses, food deserts and hospitals. The company says just one employee is needed to maintain and restock up to 8-12 Juxta Nomads per day.

The staff-free store, which spans a 264-square-foot interior, only stocks between 500-600 “fast-moving, high-margin” items and gives shoppers the ability to purchase self-served food and drinks as well as snacks, fresh fruit, sandwiches and other items inside. The retailer can determine which product offerings chooses to stock depending on each Nomad’s location and customer purchase data. A Juxta dashboard provides data for retail operators to optimize their strategy with “hyper-targeted” customer offers, per the release.

For example, operators of Nomads positioned by remote EV charging points far from any urban conurbation could prioritize drinks and snacks to be consumed by drivers while waiting for their vehicles to charge, per the release. Operators of Nomads located by EV charging stations closer to or within towns and cities could also choose to stock larger items, such as readymade meals, for shoppers to purchase and consume when they return to their homes.

Inside the Nomad, shelf and cabinet sensors can instantly detect when an item is picked up, and a slew 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 technology will collate their purchases.  

Where legislation permits, Juxta’s technology can also enable compliant retail of age-restricted items such as alcohol or cigarettes. Contained within specific age-verified fridges and dispensers, restricted items will only be released after cameras have confirmed the purchaser is of legal age. The technology will also have the scope to request and verify IDs, such as driver licenses, to confirm the purchaser’s age if necessary. 

Before exiting the store, customers can verify their purchased items on a large touch screen. However, if they prefer to minimize their shopping time, they can walk straight out with their purchases, entrusting Juxta's technology to record their purchases and charge their credit or debit card.

According to the company, the concept has already found success from a four-month trial of its first Nomad store in North Carolina and has further roll-out plans for Juxta Nomads in the U.S. and Europe. Juxta has confirmed four Nomads in the U.S., which are slated to be fully operational later this year, and is also in advanced negotiations with operators in Europe, where it will introduce its first Nomads in 2024, per the release.

Choice Market’s Nomad store will operate from a home base in Denver, but it will first operate at the Renewal 2023 music Festival in Buena Vista, Colorado, from Sept. 21-24, according to CSA. The store will be open to campers and festivalgoers 24 hours a day during the event.

Juxta is a U.S.-based corporate start-up formed in 2022 by Vontier, the parent company of Gilbarco Veeder Root, a supplier of fueling and convenience store equipment. 

"[Juxta’s] mission is to support station operators transitioning from traditional hydrocarbon fuel stations to EV charging points and collaborate with established retail brands to extend their presence beyond fuel pumps by adding value to the charging station experience and driving top-line growth,” Om Shankar, Juxta co-founder and CEO, said in the release.

“While there are other players in the autonomous retail ecosphere, Juxta’s offering is unique, as it is the only turnkey store on the market that does not require complex integrations,” Shankar added. “Our Nomads are also exclusively targeted at the micro convenience retail landscape and have been specifically designed, developed and trialed over an eighteen-month period to provide multiple benefits for EV charging operators.”

Other unique elements of the store include:

  • While the Nomad units require an electricity supply, they do not need to be connected to external water supply as in-store water reservoirs are used for hot drinks.
  • The internal Nomad layout is not limited solely to retailing typical convenience store items. The format can stock whatever the retailer wishes, such as camping supplies.
  • Juxta says it developed Nomads to give operators and retailers “free rein” to brand both inside and outside the store.
  • Juxta's AI and camera technology can also instantly identify and report any hygiene issues, such as spillages.
  • Access to multiple suppliers can be granted to facilitate the delivery of items such as daily newspapers, milk and fresh fruit and vegetables.