Retail

Bingobox rivals Amazon Go with mobile staffless grocery stores

By Kitty Knowles 5 July 2017
Summary

That's fierce competition for Amazon Go.

Last year we told you how new Amazon Go supermarkets would make you feel like a shoplifter: they have no checkouts, there’s nowhere to pay, and basically no staff.

If you want to pick up a loaf of bread, you literally just pick it up, and walk out.

This unusual shopping experience is made possible by thousands of cameras and sensors that track the items you pick up, and adds them to your bill when you walk out.

But while Amazon reportedly has ambitions for 2,000 Go stores, its concept grocery store in Seattle has still only ever been open to staff.

Now it’s China that’s the frontrunner in launching the ‘shop of the future’.

Meet Bingobox

Bingobox is another staffless store concept that wants to shake up your shopping routine, by letting franchisers wheel their mobile shop pods wherever they like.

The company’s first shop already opened to the public in Shanghai last month, and has been followed by several further stores.

To use Bingobox you simply start off by registering using the WeChat app; this lets you use your smartphone to unlock any Bingobox door.

You can then choose from hundreds of items, and pay at a self service till using WeChat or Alibaba’s mobile wallet app, Alipay when you leave.

 

When you leave the store, a security camera will scan you to check you’re only leaving with products you’ve paid for, while in-store cameras also check only registered users are in the shop at any given time.

And if you get stuck you can chat to a helpful human by video link.

The future of food?

While real human beings are required to keep each pod stocked, Bingobox claims that only four staffers are needed to run 40 stores.

This week it also revealed it had raised $15m in funding from the likes of GGV Capital to expand, having previously joined forces with French supermarket chain Auchan – which has hundreds of stores across China today.

“We have built a team of artificial intelligence experts to research and develop technologies including product recognition and sorting algorithms. Currently, the technology has successfully recognised over 200 types of products,” said Chen Zilin, Bingobox founder and CEO, to the Chinese media.

Whether through Amazon Go or businesses like Bingobox, or even Tesco, it’s time to start waving goodbye to shop assistants.

Good news if you like smart shopping, but bad news if you enjoy a friendly smile while you bag.

Watch the Bingobox promo video below…