Tortoise Flies Into San Diego Comic-Con
Super Idea: Tortoise and Sodexo Live! Hit Comic-Con
Tortoise announced today that its mobile commerce robot will be roaming around Comic-Con, selling beverages and burritos thanks to a partnership with Sodexo Live!
Perhaps you need to have actually attended San Diego Comic-Con (the grandaddy of all comic book/pop culture conventions) to understand why Tortoise’s robot will be a big hit there (and probably make big bucks this week).
Once a year, San Diego — a city normally populated by attractive, fit, sun-kissed people — is overrun by literally hundreds of thousands of nerds. You can almost see them cresting over the hill, dressed as Jedi knights and Jokers as they descend on this idyllic beach town.
It is glorious.
For real! I have been one of those nerds and loved it (and miss it).
Comic-Con is also crowded. The convention center is packed with padawans queueing up for exclusive merch, or cadre of Captain Marvel fans camping out in front of Hall H to get a glimpse of Brie Larson, or just throngs of people simply trying to get on the escalator.
All of this is to say that Tortoise’s mobile robot should be a hero when it rolls around Comic-Con this week.
As a quick refrsher:
Tortoise makes a big, teleoperated robot that can carry around 150 lbs. (super strength!). The company pivoted away from last mile delivery earlier this year to providing mobile commerce. Tortoises are outfitted with two big cargo bays and a tap-to-pay system. Each Tortoise only carries two SKUs, limiting option paralysis and any price confusion. The robot is driven around crowded areas and stops when people approach. Users tap their phone or card on the cargo bin to open it up, grab what they want, shut the bin and go, getting charged automatically. The whole purchase process takes 15 seconds.
Tortoises are also easy for venues to set up. There’s no new infrastructure needed and there’s no up-front cost as Tortoise just takes a cut of revenue.
After switching to mobile commerce, Tortoise found pretty much instant traction in the market, some of which has been at stadiums and sporting events such as selling snacks at Sacramento Kings and Washington Capitals games.
Tortoise is working with Sodexo Live! to bring its robot to the San Diego Convention center this week. The robot will be selling cold drinks and warm burritos. Selling warm food is a little different for Tortoise, which up until now has focused on snacks and souvenir type items. The burrito cargo bay isn’t temperature controlled, but Tortoise told me that the burritos will only be in there for two hours at a time, and bay’s temperature will be monitored.
Having been to a number of Comic-Cons over the years, Tortoise is going to be a huge hit. Not only can the lines get long at concessions, but because of the masses of people, it just takes a looong time to walk out of the convention center and into downtown. Plus, once you’re downtown, just about every restaurant is packed and you have to wait. And its hot outside — especially when you’re dressed up in a homemade Optimus Prime costume. Being able to grab a burrito or a beverage while you’re in line for the Black Panther II panel will be a godsend.
After this trial run this year, I look forward to next year when Tortoise co-brands its ‘bot with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Because Tortoise… Turtle… Never mind.
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That’s it for today!
You stay classy, San Diego.