Cleveron, the Estonian company specializing in robotic pickup lockers, has formed sales and distribution agreements with three U.S.-based companies with eyes on deploying its self-service solutions to attack a growing appetite for grocery e-commerce in the U.S.
Distributors Lozier CASI (Omaha, Neb.), Luxer One (Sacramento, Calif.) and Telaid (Niantic, Conn.) are all established companies with experience deploying automated retail applications, technologies and fixtures in the U.S. retail world, Cleveron said.
Cleveron is the creator of the “Rapunzel” towers widely deployed in U.S. Walmart stores, allowing the chain to store and distribute packages for self-service. Its 501 grocery lockers are deployed by chains in its native Estonia, providing partnering retailers with more efficient last-mile and pickup solutions for ambient, frozen and refrigerated grocery orders.
The 501 is a trailer-sized unit available with refrigerated and frozen storage for 120 totes—although company officials say they are at work on a larger unit appropriate for larger U.S. shopping trips. The totes are stored and retrieved using space-efficient robotics, allowing the unit to be about half the size of a traditional refrigerated locker bank storing a similar quantity of goods, Cleveron officials say, and allow deployment in lots or off-retail pickup sites where traditional stores cannot go. The crates are loaded and received at a walk-up window, allowing consumers to access orders through a code or a phone scan.
Cleveron officials say the pandemic has heightened the need for its solutions—which are already widely in use in Europe—to the U.S., where only a handful of such sites currently exist.
“In the U.S., our main client is the world’s largest retailer who is open to test advanced technological solutions. But in other conversations we often saw that despite parcel lockers and robots being very common in Estonia, parcel lockers even being the most preferred delivery method here, they were still considered a thing of the future in the States,” said Cleveron CEO Arno Kütt. “Today, due to the pandemic, the U.S. e-commerce market has jumped five years into the future within just a couple of months, and the retailers are very interested in technologies which will help to make parcel handling more effective. Having local and experienced distributors with an already developed client portfolio will help us to expand our footprint there.”
Luxer One describes itself as a leader in app-controlled “smart locker” systems, having designed lockers for U.S. retailers, including Macy’s, Foot Locker and a one of the country’s leading home-improvement chains.
“One sector of retail where I see an immediate need for our combined skills is grocery,” Arik Levy, Luxer One’s founder and CEO, said in a news release. “This industry has been slower to adopt smart locker and automation technology because of the added need for refrigeration with many of their products. We’re going to solve that and completely change the traditional grocery shopping experience.”
Lozier CASI combines Lozier Corp. and Cornerstone Automation Systems LLC (CASI). Lozier is a leading manufacturer of store fixtures, and been a key supplier and developmental partner in existing, new and emerging retail markets since 1956. CASI designs, manufactures, installs and services state-of-the-art turnkey automation systems for retail and e-commerce.
Telaid describes itself as a leading technology integrator from wireless to physical security solutions, infrastructure and cabling to emerging internet of things and automation.
“Enterprises in retail, grocery, logistics and other commercial businesses continue to accelerate their efforts to offer a fully automated, contactless experience. Cleveron robotic click-and-collect terminals enable businesses to serve their customers from high traffic street corners, parking lots or other convenient remote posts. We’re excited to offer our enterprise clients these new solutions that support their automation and customer experience goals,” said Chris Patsiga, CEO of Telaid.