““By developing the pick-up container into an automated, unmanned shop buying locally produced food becomes even easier. The customer can now choose, pay and pick up the products on the spot.”
-Esko Helansuo, Project Manager at Xamk
In the village of Juva in Eastern Finland, local small producers have launched the Lähiapaja* shop, a fully automated, unmanned shop. The unmanned shop completes the initiative to develop alternative sales channels for local small producers.
Lähiapaja is an unmanned shop where roughly 20 producers are selling their locally produced organic food ranging from fish, vegetables and meat. Initially, Lähiapaja was a click and collect based webshop. After purchasing online, customers picked up their purchases from a container, which they could access with their Lähiapaja mobile application.
Our unmanned shop concept brings real benefits to small producers’ business as it extends their sales channels but requires close to no additional resources for maintaining the service. The shop serves customers around the clock, generating additional sales and enabling a new channel for customer acquisition.
“For us local small producers this is a unique opportunity to reach new customers. We already sell our products online and the unmanned store is an exciting addition to our sales channels,” says Alexandra Lindqvist from the organic farm Sappion luomutila.
Customers can pick up products bought online or make their purchases on the spot. The technology ensures that Out-of-Stock situations are a thing of the past, as the producer receives automated item alerts when stock balance is low. He can then easily replenish items before they run out.
*The Lähiapaja store is part of Xamk’s (South Eastern University of Applied Science) development project Fisu-postilla järvikalat liikkeelle (Lake fish by fish mail).