Boxy's unmanned mini-marts in shipping containers spread across France

Fuchsia shipping containers are popping up around France. They're tiny, unmanned stores by Boxy, and each sells 250 different grocery items.

To shop at Boxy, a customer downloads the company's app, which provides them with a personal QR code. They scan that code on entering a store, and Boxy uses a combination of weight sensors on shelves and connected cameras to detect which products they're taking. On exiting the store, they rescan their QR code and voila — they're checked out, and their receipt is sent to their phone.

Boxy stores — reused shipping containers with a footprint of just 15 m2 — can be installed anywhere and are restocked daily from central distribution centers. They're open 24/7, and with its minimal costs for real estate and labor, Boxy can charge regular supermarket prices.

The startup was founded in 2019 and just closed a EUR 25 million funding round; it plans to expand from 22 stores today to 1,000 by 2025.

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There's no friendly face (or bodega cat) to greet customers. But with grocery stores leaving villages and small towns while gas prices reach record highs, Boxy's spin on automated commerce serves consumers who might otherwise not have easy access to basic groceries. 

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