Retail disruption is so advanced in Shanghai, China, that there’s even a term for it called new retail, a seamless integration of the in-store and online shopping experiences. Here are four new retail concepts:
Ratio is a fully automated coffee shop. Like most retail in Shanghai, customers order and pay with their phone through the WeChat app, making cash payments and the checkout line obsolete. But Ratio takes it a step further. The drink-making process is also automated by a robot, allowing customers to choose not only the type of coffee, but the exact temperature and taste profile. Ratio serves 400 drinks per day and more than 50 drinks are on the menu.
BK24 is a new concept from Buddies that opened in December 2018. The small store, at just 50 square meters, attracts local business people in an upscale downtown neighborhood. Buddies is a subsidiary of the Shanghai Liangyou Group, which operates 520 stores including 270 franchises stores. BK24 offers lunchbox delivery through a partnership with JD.com, where customers can order a lunchbox from their phone, and the hot meal is delivered to their office or home.
More than 100,000 customers fill up every day at uSmile stations in Shanghai, a subsidiary of PetroChina. While cupholders are useful for grab-and-go items, so is the trunk: gas-buying customers can purchase larger items in bulk like cooking oil and rice at the fuel island. Inside the store, customers will find grab-and-go snacks and drinks, PetroChina’s Duck-branded items and household items like vacuum cleaners. Customers can pay with their phone inside the store for both fuel and in-store items.
Hema, an Alibaba-owned retailer, creates a unique customer experience: it’s part market, part restaurant, part warehouse and part fulfillment center. The store does not have a traditional checkout area. Instead, self-checkout and kiosks allow customers to pay for items throughout the store with Alibaba’s payment app, Alipay. But most of Hema’s shoppers (60%) place their orders online for delivery. Employees fulfill orders by collecting items throughout the store, and ceiling conveyors move full shopping bags overhead to a common fulfillment area, where an army of electric scooters are waiting to make deliveries.