Chinese retailer Suning Commerce Group has unveiled plans to open four new unmanned automated stores across the country.
These new stores will be powered by facial recognition technology, radio frequency identification (RFID), big data analysis and the company’s online financial services.
In August, the company opened its first self-service store ‘Suning Sports Biu’ in Nanjing, followed by a second-cashier-less store in Shanghai earlier this week.
The company has plans to open three more stores in Beijing, Chongqing and Xuzhou.
The stores will sell merchandise including sports products, souvenir items of well known football clubs such as F.C. Internazionale Milano. The stores will include gadgets, personal electronics, food and FMCG goods to fulfill its patrons’ purchasing demands.
Suning’s new unmanned stores offer a frictionless shopping and paying process, which is claimed to be quicker than similar stores and enhances the user experience.
For the facial recognition to work, a user first needs to link his/her bank card with the facial recognition on Suning’s Finance app. Users can enter a store by simply letting the camera at the entrance to scan their faces.
To check out, shoppers only need to carry their goods along the payment pathway. It is claimed that the system can automatically recognise the items and can make the entire checkout process in less than 15 seconds.
The facial recognition system, the RFID system along with Suning’s big data analysis can calculate and analyze customer flow in the stores and help in optimising product placement to enhance the store’s operations.
Suning Holdings Group chairman Zhang Jindong said: “The ‘Biu’ store is the latest innovation of Suning’s ‘Smart Retail’. Suning has more than 1,500 brick-and-mortar stores which have been upgraded to big data-driven smart stores years ago. With extensive offline experience and advantages in O2O retail, Suning’s unmanned store model has undergone the concept and trial stages, and is now ready to scale up.
“These stores are launched for business, and are reproducible, cost-wise and technology-wise. As today’s tech-savvy consumers expect different shopping experience, we see more opportunities in the industry and Suning is dedicated to create best services for our customers.”