A startup from New York state is betting that consumers will enjoy having a personal assistant in the form of an app which helps manage the stock in their fridges and kitchen cupboards.

Founded in September 2012 and accepted this year into the Cornell incubator programme, Rosie sets out to improve the whole experience of physical shopping with an online shopping platform that alerts users when they are about to run short of an item they need. In order to do this, the web and mobile platform acts as an aggregator of consumer habits. Based on the average habits of the users, the app can predict when a product in a household will run out. On the one hand, the platform uses predictive technology to keep consumers abreast of what they have in stock, and on the other hand it seeks to automate the re-stocking process through partnerships with local grocery stores. In the words of Rosie Applications CEO Nick Nickitas, the concept is close to that of an ‘intelligent fridge’ which can order groceries for its owner.

Predictions based on consumption habits

When users sign up to the Rosie platform, they provide details of their households: how many people live there, their ages and gender, plus information on their shopping habits. The smart application interprets the purchasing behaviour around household products and grocery items based on ordering history. In addition, the app uses predictive algorithms to determine the moment at which a user is likely to run short of items ranging from ketchup to toothpaste or toilet paper. When Rosie spots that the household is about to run out of a product, she sends an alert to warn the user, suggesting s/he re-stock from the local neighbourhood grocery stores.

Items delivered when needed

The app suggests various stores to the customer, with a view to obtaining each product required at the best price. The user is also spared the effort of walking round inside a store to pick the goods off shelves: articles that have been ordered online will be wrapped and ready for collection by the customer at any of Rosie’s partner companies near his/her home. In addition, Rosie has set up a partnership with TaskRabbit, a company which, for the price of $5.95, takes on the task of picking up the online order and delivering it to the customer’s home. Rosie is due for formal launch this April for upstate New York consumers. So far the startup has concluded one partnership deal with a local store and signed up 1,400 subscribers.