As electric vehicles (EVs) gain traction in the automotive landscape, the infrastructure that supports them is undergoing a significant transformation. Juxta, a pioneering technology startup backed by industrial giant Vontier, is redefining the EV charging experience with an innovative solution: autonomous micro-retail stores, known as Juxta Nomads. These fully-equipped, portable, and unstaffed retail hubs offer more than just snacks and refreshments — they aim to turn EV charging
rging stations into profit-generating retail spaces. Inside Retail spoke with Om Shankar, the Co-founder and CEO of Juxta, to delve deeper into how these Nomads could represent the next big leap in retail: mitigating labour shortages and maximising per-square-foot profitability, while also enhancing the customer experience. How it works Without needing to download an app or register for membership, shoppers can gain instant access to the Juxta Nomad with the touch of a physical or online debit or credit card. Once inside the micro-store, customers can select items. Inside the Nomad, shelf and cabinet sensors instantly detect when an item is picked up, and an array of cameras will anonymously identify the customer . The information is combined in the cloud to create a digital basket for each person. If a family or group of shoppers enter the store, Juxta’s AI-driven technology will collate their purchases. Where legislation permits, Juxta’s technology will also enable age-restricted items such as alcohol or cigarettes. Contained within specific age-verified fridges and dispensers, restricted items will only be released after cameras have confirmed the purchaser is of appropriate age. Customers can verify their purchased items on a large touch screen before they exit the store. They can also walk straight out with their purchases, entrusting Juxta’’s technology to record their purchases and charge their credit or debit card. The story so far “The inspiration came from identifying a gap and a need in the marketplace. As EV adoption grows and grows across the world, so too will the supporting infrastructure need to grow,” Shankar told Inside Retail. He said that more stations are needed for drivers and their EVs to make stops for charging. But, there are three major challenges to this expansion – availability of real estate, availability of labour and availability of funding. “[The Juxta Nomad stores] have minimal real estate requirements, footprint or servicing are fully autonomous and don’t need labour to staff the[m], it is designed to maximise revenue and profit generation,” he added. Shankar reiterated that EV charging infrastructure is among the fastest growing markets in the world, with users having dwell times of more than 15 minutes. He also noted that it’s possible to set up these micro-stores within 12 hours, due to their homogenous nature and minimal variation between stores. However, there is the option to customise the look and feel of the stores, as well as the product lines on offer. Solving the labour challenge The autonomous nature of the Juxta Nomad stores means that owners aren’t tasked with the significant challenge of finding and retaining staff. Meanwhile, customers can stock between 500 and 600 fast-moving, high-margin items within the 24.5sq m space “We are very conscious about retaining as much character and personal touch as possible throughout the experience, and we do this through clever use of friendly technologies and familiar notices on entry, check out and emailing of receipts,” he said. For those who are worried about privacy and security, Shankar is confident that its proprietary software will pass this test with flying colours. According to him, It has been rigorously tested in millions of simulated and in-field transactional scenarios. Future plans Shankar is coy about what the future holds for the product, but for now, the fast growing EV infrastructure network is a very good space to be in. “We are already seeing enquiries from outside of EV infrastructure from sectors as diverse as music festivals to hospitals, sports and leisure facilities, suburban streets, densely populated developments and more,” he stated. The company plans to roll out its Nomads over the next 12 months across the US market, Northern and Central Europe as well as the UK. Asia will be the next port of call in its second year of operations.