Shekou's First Staff-Less Convenience Store (Maybe Shenzhen's?)
10 Jul 2017
There was a lot of hype this morning about a new self-help supermarket that opened in Hangzhou today. According to an article published by Shekou News today, in this new store, there are no cashiers. Customers enter the store by scanning their phone at metro station-style turnstiles which keeps track of who they are. Then they're body-scanned on the wait out and charged automatically.
Watch this video of the experience. It's in Chinese but you'll get the point.
On July 4th, 2017, Technode reported of another similar store in Zhongshan. "As the first significant venture funding in this field, China’s automated convenience store manufacturer BingoBox announced Monday that it has received RMB 100 million ($14 million) in a Series A led by GGV Capital with participation from Qiming Venture Partners, Source Code Capital and Ventech China."
"Originated in Guangdong’s Zhongshan City, BingoBox has developed fully-automated, 24/7 convenience stores. With full integration with WeChat, users enter and exit using WeChat’s scanning feature. Through partnership with global retailors like Auchan, BingoBox stores have over 200 types of products including daily necessities such as drinks, groceries and over-the-counter medicine."
Aside from the new supermarket in Hangzhou or the BingoBox small shipping container sized store, there have been other stores in China trying out this staff-less store experience... although quite a bit smaller. For example, on April 26th, That's Mag reported on Guangzhou's Staff-less 24/7 Convenience Store and last Monday ShekouNews interviewed the owner of what appears to be Shekou's (and maybe even Shenzhen's) first staff-less convenience store, called Yu-Mall; inside the QC 101 Community.
Staff-less Store in Guangzhou [Image via Guangzhou Impressions, h/t to Elsa Chao]
After hearing about the shop here in Shekou, we thought we'd go down there and give it a try ourselves.
Watch this video of Kiko from ShekouDaily making her first purchase at the Yu-Mall.
We were fortunate enough to run into the shop owner, Mr. Zhou, who told us that, despite operating completely on an honor system, there's little loss from theft. He calculates that he's lost just about 1% a month since opening back in March; which still costs him less than hiring staff.
As you can see, the shop is quite small, carrying just a few common items such as cigarettes, drinks, tissues, and ice cream.
The difference between his shop and typical vending machines is that you don't need to pay first. You grab what you want, then scan the code and pay. Now if you're buying multiple items it'll be up to you to do the math before paying or pay for each item one by one.
People can pay using WeChat or AliPay. It's not 24 hours but it's open from morning to around midnight.
The shop is located on Gongye 6th Road just off Nanhai Blvd.
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