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Fully automated furniture outlets

Image credit: Mazda

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Jan 14, 2022
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Drive-through furniture outlets that have the lowest prices because the company doesn't need any staff.
Why?
  • The business can be operated by a single person. With the help of delivery crew that loads the warehouse.
  • No staff, no expenses, no problems.
  • Buyers get cool furniture at prices that no other place can match. This keeps them driving by to check out what's available before they go to any other store.
How it works
Objective 1: maximize simplicity of operation at every step.
Objective 2: minimize the price of sold furniture.
Maximal simplicity
Recreate a vending machine on a large scale. Everything that can be automated, should be automated.
The back end is the warehouse, the front end is the sales area where people see, pay for, and get their furniture released to them.
In the backend, identical packages are lined up on a conveyor belt, spaced apart just enough for the delivery system to know where one ends and the other begins. As the first package in line is sold, the conveyor belt moves just enough to replace the now-empty spot with the next item. Every line of items contains only one type of product.
The front side is a series of glass containers. Each furniture set has a dedicated container. Half of the container is used to showcase the already-assembled furniture. The 2nd half is the delivery area where a conveyor belt brings out the packaged items after the buyers pays for them.
The delivery area is protected with 2 garrage type fold-down doors. The doors are never open simultaneously so as to prevent anyone from entering the warehouse. The outer (package release) door opens only when the conveyour belt delivers the package into the delivery area and the doors to the warehouse are closed.
If a potential buyer wants to sit on the furniture and examine it up close, they can open the glass container only after identifying themselves. This is optional. They can just visually examine it without identifying themselves. The ID process requires people to either:
a) slidine their credit card in a slit as a form of identification
b) stand in front of a camera and hold a matching ID next to their face while clicking the open button. If the software doesn't see the face clearly or determines that the person in the ID is not the same, the door to the showcasing area doesn't open.
When a person is ready to buy they simply pay for the item like in any other vending machine (credit card, cash, Bitcoin) and the delivery door opens.
Lowest possible price of furniture
It's an outlet. People don't expect a great variety of choices. What they do expect is low prices. So sell only a few bestsellers and strike deals with the manufacturers to buy those in bulk.
Drive-by location
Stretch the entire front end (glass containers) next to a busy road. Make it so that people can short-term park in front of the containers so that they can pick up the furniture.
The further the location is outside of populated areas, the less of an incentive people will have to park there unless they are potential buyers. Also the cheaper the realestate will be.
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