JD.com plans unmanned c-store chain
Following a trial at its Beijing headquarters, online retail giant JD.com plans to open hundreds of unmanned convenience stores.
This effectively dwarfs Amazon’s plans to open checkout-free stores, reports the Daily Telegraph.
JD.com’s stores will use facial recognition and other technology to identify products and record payments so customers do not need to wait in a checkout line. Ceiling cameras will track shopper movements and generate heat maps to monitor activity and traffic flow, product choice and customer preferences.
This will all help store owners to stock efficiently, says the company, while facial recognition will allow for customised advertising based on an individual’s shopping behaviour.
“From helping small-store owners streamline their supply chains and increase stocking efficiency, to speeding up check out, this is a massive jump beyond anything in use today,” says JD.com VP Song Ma.
As well as plans to eventually license its store technology to third parties, the online retailer is also considering driverless vehicles with pre-programmed routes as well as secure lockers for deliveries. In May, JD.com said it planned to develop heavy-duty drones for long-distance deliveries.
Also earlier this year, Amazon announced its intention to roll out Amazon Go, a checkout-free, cashless store.