New concept of shopping experience: JD.com will open hundreds of unmanned stores

JD.com and real estate developer China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd (COLI) plan to open hundreds of unmanned convenience stores, Quartz reports. Utilizing ceiling cameras that use facial recognition technology to identify customers, as well as image recognition and heat mapping to track their movements and item selections!

New concept of shopping experience: JD.com will open hundreds of unmanned stores

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JD.com and real estate developer China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd (COLI) plan to open hundreds of unmanned convenience stores, Quartz reports.


New technological developments will allow consumers to walk into these stores, pick up the items they want, and walk out without going through checkout, although the specific method for payment is not yet clear. JD.com has tested the technology at its headquarters and now appears ready to open its new store concept across China with the help of COLI.


JD.com’s unmanned store concept technology allows customers to shop unencumbered, and gives retailers access to valuable data. The store concept utilizes ceiling cameras that use facial recognition technology to identify customers, as well as image recognition and heat mapping to track their movements and item selections. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology will also be utilized for these processes. Beyond the easy shopping experience this creates, retailers will be able to note customers' preferences and learn how their inventory moves. These innovations will allow them to serve personalized advertisements and promotions, and will help them manage their inventory.


This development will allow JD.com to battle with Alibaba in brick-and-mortar, as they're both working to innovate in the space. Alibaba has its own tech-centric grocery stores and unmanned convenience store concept — one from its own development and one from its recent investment in a hypermarket operator, though it isn't the lead shareholder in the company. Both of its unstaffed concepts, however, require consumers to scan a QR code upon entrance. Additionally, its own store concept can only handle 50 shoppers at once, and the hypermarket operator's stores appear to be quite small. JD.com’s technology may be superior to Alibaba’s, potentially giving it the upper hand and the chance to outperform its rival in physical retail.


The technology will eventually be licensed to third-party retailers, possibly worrying Amazon since Amazon Go is still delayed. Amazon set out to develop a similar technology to JD.com’s, but it has struggled with large numbers of people and group shopping.


While Amazon's technology may be ready soon, JD.com clearly has a head start. This opens up the opportunity for JD.com to license its technology to retailers around the world, arming Amazon’s competitors with an improved in-store shopping experience that could weaken Amazon’s growing hold on US retail while it works on Amazon Go. JD.com also developed another model that will allow retailers to use some of its technology depending on how it fits their existing stores, making it even easier for Amazon’s brick-and-mortar competitors to improve.








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