GDR NRF Newsletter September 2018

Tech-enhanced Chinese supermarket launches autonomous shopping carts

Chinese ecommerce giant JD.com has opened a physical supermarket in Beijing that uses technology to streamline, personalise and enhance the shopper journey.

The 4,000-square-meter space is a reaction to Alibaba’s tech-enhanced Hema Market and it includes many of the same features. For example, customers can scan items using the JD.com app as they move through the space and have them delivered to their homes within 30 minutes. They can also pay within the app and order food to be cooked by in-store chefs.

There are, however, a number of interesting new features within 7Fresh. Autonomous shopping carts that sync with customers’ smartphones will be available to follow shoppers through the store, leaving them hands-free during their visit.

In-store digital displays known as Magic Mirrors will also give customers timely, additional product information. Whenever a piece of produce is picked up, for example, the Magic Mirror above the merchandising display will show where the product comes from and list its nutritional value.

JD.com, which is part-owned by Walmart, is expanding its blockchain trials, with a view to bringing the technology in-store in the near future. JD is aiming to eventually open 1,000 7Fresh stores.

Cashier-free electronics store lets customers pay without visiting a checkout

German consumer electronics retailer MediaMarktSaturn has launched a cashless express store where customers can pay using their phones.

In the small format Saturn Express store in Innsbruck, Austria, customers can scan items they want to buy using an app on their phone and walk out without visiting a checkout.

The technology behind the store’s payment system was created by London-based startup MishiPay. Customers must first download the Saturn Express app. Within this they can scan an RFID tag on any item they want to buy, before paying within the app. This will unlock the RFID tag, enabling them to leave the store without setting off the security alarms.

"Opening the store marks another important step in our journey to revolutionise POS shopping," said Mustafa Khanwala, CEO of MishiPay. "It's an important step forward in enhancing the customer experience … by bringing the best of the online checkout experience to the physical store based on our scanning, pay and go technology."

As well as adding an extra layer of convenience for customers, MediaMarktSaturn believes this initiative will allow its expert staff to spend more time advising customers.

Starbucks opens huge AR-enhanced outlet in Shanghai to educate customers about its coffee

Starbucks’ second Reserve Roastery in Shanghai uses augmented reality to demystify the coffee making process for its visitors.

An AR-backed app has been created to give customers contextual information as they move throughout the space. Visitors can point their smartphone at different objects and information will appear about Starbucks’ processes.

The app also gamifies the tour. Along the way, customers can gather virtual badges for visiting different locations. When they have visited every station, they unlock a custom Starbucks filter.

The Roastery offers small batch roastings as well as unique menu items that are only available to those in Shanghai.

The location also boasts a 3D printed tea bar, hexagonal ceiling tiles inspired by an espresso machine and a 40-tonne cask covered in more than 1,000 hand-engraved Chinese stamps.

Nike concept store is stocked based on local data

Nike’s By You experiential retail store in Los Angeles is stocked based on the interests and purchases of local NikePlus members. The quantity and assortment of products in the store is swapped bi-weekly according to the purchase patterns of L.A. customers.

The location also includes some interesting design touches to drive regular visits to the store. For example, a digital vending machine dispenses free Nike merchandise to every NikePlus member. Every two weeks members can scan their mobile app on the machine to receive a new gift from the brand.

The location also aims to unify the online and in-store shopping journey. Customers can scan barcodes to find out information about products and see different colours and styles. This includes checking availability in-store and online. Customers with the Nike app can skip the queue and checkout directly through the app.