Unmanned shops powered by facial recognition technology

Robotic

Chinese-based Suning Commerce Group, a Fortune Global 500 company owned by Suning Holdings, has announced it is opening four new unmanned automated stores in China, close to the country’s largest annual shopping spree, the “11/11 Shopping Festival”.

After rolling out the first self-service store “Suning Sports Biu” in Nanjing in August, Suning launched its second cashier-less store in Shanghai earlier this week.

“The ‘Biu’ store is the latest innovation of Suning’s ‘Smart Retail’,” said Zhang Jindong, Chairman of Suning Holdings Group. “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,” convinced Zhang.

Powered by facial recognition technology, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), big data analysis and its owned online financial services, Suning’s unmanned stores offer a frictionless shopping and a paying process quicker than other similar stores to optimise the user experience. Features include:

  • Facial recognition – After linking a bank card and going through the facial recognition on Suning Finance app, customers will be able to enter the store simply by letting the camera scan their faces at the entrance.
  • Effortless shopping experience – To check out, shoppers only need to carry their goods along the payment pathway. The system will automatically recognise the shoppers and their items with the facial recognition and RFID technology ¨C making the entire check-out process shorter than 15 seconds.
  • Customer traffic and flow analysis – The surveillance cameras and an algorithm system developed by Suning is used to calculate and analyze customer flow in the stores to help optimize the product placement and enhance the shop operation.

With its years of experience in running approximately 4,000 self-managed stores and outlets targeting on different communities, Suning plans to expand its offerings of Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) in the unmanned stores to cover more diversified product lines. The unmanned stores will also feature Augmented Reality (AR) technology to display creative items, optimizing the space usage.