NIKKEI Asia January 8, 2020 Online 18:20 JST|Retail|”Ito-Yokado expands grocery truck business across Japan” “Ito Yokado’s grocery trucks allow consumers the opportunity to pick up and inspect perishables before deciding whether to buy.”
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Japanese retailer Ito-Yokado (IY) is going nationwide with their “mobile supermarket business as early as 2022.” These trucks will operate nearby 100 stores across Japan. “The trucks are intended to alleviate a weakness of online stores, which cannot offer consumers the opportunity to pick up and inspect a product before buying it.” Trucks may carry up to “1,200 items in 450 categories, including fresh foods, frozen foods and daily sundries.” A small fee about ten cents will be added to each item to cover additional costs for the truck service. Routes will be established based on surveys from potential customers beyond the base store. As of December, IY had 16 trucks based out of 14 stores with a plan to have more than 100 from 70% of IY locations. The service is particularly attractive to “seniors who refrain from going out and people living in sparsely populated areas.” IY is working with “municipalities so that delivery personnel can help to watch over isolated elderly people.” For big retailers the concept is attractive because the trucks are less expensive to operate than brick-and-mortar stores, they can readily modify inventory selections based on demand and they solve a failing of online services by allowing customers to inspect, select and buy perishables first hand.