With the help of investors, freewheeling startup 'gogo car' (gogo车吧) has converted 400 Shenzhen taxis into mobile convenience stores, Southern Metropolis Daily reported.
The 'stores' allow passengers to purchase snacks, drinks, power banks, umbrellas, raincoats and other items during their ride. Customers in the backseat simply choose an item from a hanging pouch and pay by scanning a WeChat QR code.
gogo's system requires drivers to purchase their own equipment and stock for an initial cost of RMB200, but allows them to keep sales revenue. According to the company, drivers make RMB30-300 per day and bring in up to RMB2,000 a month from backseat product sales.
Not everyone is buying into the new scheme, however. As a taxi driver surnamed Li told Southern Metropolis Daily, “The car is small, and why wouldn’t I sell goods directly instead of through a third party?”
He has a point. But while novel in Shenzhen, the car-convenience store hybrid has appeared elsewhere before.
Last June, US company Cargo launched 'boxes' in Uber and Lyft cars that vend goodies, some of them free, to passengers. This past January, the company raised USD5.5 million in funding, which will be used for expansion.
In China, Mobile Go is similarly partnering with rideshare drivers – in this case, Didi – to sell snacks and beverages, while 'Moby Mart,' a purportedly self-driving convenience store on wheels, launched in Shanghai last June.
That's not to mention all the staffless convenience stores – both high-tech and low – popping up around the country, luring even WeChat into the fray. Wherever the future of shopping in China is headed, it seems, there will be plenty of snacks.