Shopping that
buys itself

Automated ecommerce via connected scales

Overview

When Unilever put out the call for ideas to make ecommerce more efficient and sustainable, Solid State’s thinking stood out – in a highly competitive environment.

We developed a connected weighing scale for consumers to use at home, which would automatically order replacement products from a supermarket partner when stocks were getting low.

Challenge

Unilever was looking for big ideas to improve ecommerce systems, and staged a hackathon with 250+ people competing to develop the best solutions.

The Solid State team decided to streamline ecommerce by building a weighing scale to sit underneath any Unilever product in the home, automatically re-ordering that product when it sensed the weight drop below a certain level.

In just 48 hours, we needed to build a working hardware prototype and integrate it with a supermarket’s online ecommerce system.

Solution

In two days, we created a proof-of-concept that included a hardware device and a simplified website, automatically adding products to a supermarket shopping basket when their weight fell below a pre-set refill level.

It successfully demonstrated the potential of the system – and seriously impressed the judges.

Highlights

Unilever liked the idea so much that they funded further development and user testing of the solution after the hackathon.

In a single weekend, we proved that rapid prototyping can produce brilliant, practical solutions for even the biggest corporations.

“Working with Solid State is really easy as they are open to feedback and provide regular updates to take decisions on the fly. They came up with a brilliant idea at the hack and they've taken on board the insights from our business to further refine the product later on.”

Joe Comiskey,Head of eCommerce Capability, Innovation and Strategy UK Unilever

Technologies used