LAS VEGAS: Toyota, the automaker, is attempting to transform the future of retail by making mobile commerce apply to actual stores, and not just devices.

At the heart of its idea is something it calls ‘e-Palette’, unveiled at CES 2018 last week. This is an electric, modular, self-driving vehicle that can be customized depending on commercial use and which Toyota believes is potentially an ideal venue for retail activities.

“Today, you have to travel to the store. In the future, with e-Palette, the store will come to you,” Akio Toyoda, President/Toyota Motor Corporation, explained at CES 2018. (For more details, read WARC’s report: Has Toyota just discovered the future of retail?)

Some leading brands, including Pizza Hut and Amazon, have already signed up to Toyota’s e-Palette Alliance to explore how they can exploit this emerging technology.

Pizza Hut’s initial ambition in this area is to use the e-Palette as a next generation delivery option, but further down the road it envisages potential for using such vehicles as mobile kitchens in those markets where this approach is a good match for consumer habits.

“The visions for our brand and those of Toyota are very similar,” Milind Pant, President/Pizza Hut International, observed.

“We are about making it easier to get a better pizza and Toyota is about providing mobility for all. Toyota is an exceptional fit as a technology partner to accelerate our commitment to the best delivery experience.”

Useful as pizza delivery might be, Toyota has higher hopes for its autonomous vehicles, which Toyoda pictured facilitating pop-up activations and experiences, whether of the leisure or utilitarian variety, depending on the exact purpose the units are tailored to achieve.

“By combining several e-Palettes in one place, businesses or communities can quickly create a mobile hub for services ranging from medical clinics to entertainment and festivals,” Toyoda said.

“Just think of how great e-Palette will be at Burning Man.”

Sourced from WARC