As an intermediary, SIX would act neutrally and would even include small retailers that lack the resources to set up their own infrastructure. “It’s a win-win-win situation,” Gubser says. A new, secure platform would come into being. “The consumer wins because it’s more convenient. The retailer wins because it gets a new sales channel. And the delivery courier wins because its transport capacity is better utilized.”
By engaging in thingsby7, SIX is investing in the future. Digitalization is coming, and it will also revolutionize the fresh groceries market. Swiss consumers currently order only around 2% of their groceries online – they particularly want to see and touch fresh fruit and vegetables before buying. But that has changed in the USA, where around one in four households already orders at least some of its groceries over the Internet today. It’s practical not to be constrained by store hours.
Variety Instead of Monopolies
This trend will further intensify when new platforms become intuitive to use, Gubser is convinced: “Success in e-commerce always hinges on convenience and security.” SIX won’t bring its system onto the market until it functions flawlessly, he says. Its first trial run as a minimum viable product will start in the summer of 2018, when a small group of users will test the system and help optimize its processes. Manufacturers capable of supplying smart refrigerators as an interface already exist, Gubser says. Retailers and delivery couriers are also expressing interest.
“We’re at the start – not the end – of digital evolution. So we have to invest today,” Gubser asserts. Digital companies in the USA have recognized the trend: Amazon took over the Whole Foods organic supermarket chain in 2017, and shortly thereafter Google started a partnership with grocery behemoth Walmart. Investments by grocery retailers in Europe thus far haven’t been profitable, at least not yet. The market can change rapidly, though, as evidenced by Facebook, the world’s largest social network. Facebook didn’t even exist 15 years ago, but today it has more than 2 billion members worldwide. thingsby7 is aimed at helping to ensure variety in a digital market that is increasingly dividing itself into monopolies. A smart refrigerator can be a first step toward that vision.