Tech advancements take self-service shopping to the next level

The majority of young consumers still prefer to shop for products in-store rather than online, but some stores are creating a streamlined shopping experience by incorporating more digital elements. Amazon’s unmanned grocery store opened recently, robot-run restaurants are popping up, and new self-service stores across Asia are using tech to ensure an overall smoother shopping experience.


Suning opened its second unmanned store recently in Shanghai. This outpost sells clothes, furniture, supermarket-style goods, and more. Shoppers must download the accompanying app to connect their bank account before entering the store. The app uses facial recognition software to authenticate the user’s account; although Apple has experienced some issues with their face ID following the release of the iPhone X, consumers still show interest in this tech advancement. Suning plans to have four self-service stores open soon.


From the company that started with a full-service coffee stand on a bike cart comes a new self-service convenience store open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Instead of using a smart cart to ensure shoppers pay for their items, customers won’t be able to enter the stores without the accompanying smartphone app, which allows them to scan and pay for items. The only human aspect will occur when an employee has to restock products. Wheelys 247 launched first in Shanghai, and the founder believes unmanned stores will be the norm in the not too distant future.


Managed by students of Nanyang Polytechnics’ business school, the new Cheers outpost in Singapore is a self-service convenience store. Along with the usual packaged food and drinks, the store also sells ready to eat hot foods such as pizza and fried rice. The store requires shoppers to scan a QR code in the accompanying smartphone app to gain entrance, and it accepts many forms of digital payment. More than half of youth are interested in going cashless, and new shopping formats are catering to this preference.