Look, No Checkout!

Suning demonstrates the future of smart retail @ CE China

Suning’s stand at this year’s CE China event includes a life-size mock-up of a “smart store”, just like the eight already launched in China this year.

Founded in 1990, Suning is the largest Omni-channel retailer in China with powerful commercial capability and leading technologies of Smart Retail. The company reported a 321.23% hike in year-on-year Net Profit through the first three quarters of 2017, reflecting the success of its online-to-offline “O2O” retail strategy, designed to offer consumers a one-stop seamless shopping experience. The company has over 1,500 technology-driven bricks-and-mortar stores among almost 4,000 physical stores throughout 600+ cities in China and overseas. By the end of 2018, Suning plans to add a further 5,000 physical stores to its rapidly expanding portfolio, all being connected to its online presence.

Launching a retail White Paper entitled “Smart Retail: The Third-time Transformation of Retail” earlier this year, Joshua Xiang, Executive Vice President of R&D of Suning Commerce Group and the General Manager of Suning Global Research, said, “The advent of Smart Retail is about the four A’s: it serves Anyone who needs Anything, Anywhere, Anytime. We are quickly moving towards a future where truly intelligent smart technology will provide shoppers with personalised products and services in multiple scenarios, from smart self-service shelves and shopping guide robots to drone delivery.”

The whitepaper charts retail’s evolution from bricks-and-mortar to E-commerce and now Smart Retail. It forecasts how the linear model of make-sell-consume will be superseded by one of experience-buy-make, seeing applied technology innovations including Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and online-to-offline (O2O) omni-channels becoming ubiquitous.

Suning Demonstrates Smart Retail Ecosystem at CE China

The check-out of tomorrow by Suning

Suning’s own Smart Retail strategy revolves around Smart Sourcing, Smart Selling, Smart Services, Smart Logistics and Smart Types of Business. The latter has seen the company’s forward-thinking practice of integrating its online and offline presence achieve great success, reflected in a sky-rocketing year-on-year increase of 321.23% in net profit through the first three quarters of 2017. The strategy aims to provide a smart solution to ushering in a 3D-printing era of the retail industry and driving the efficient development of business.
To showcase its credentials in Smart Selling and Smart Services. Suning has built one of its fully autonomous ‘Biu’ stores at its CE China booth. Eight are already open in various locations across China. Facial Recognition grants anyone linking their bank card to the Suning Finance app access to the store where, inside, a Suning Smart Recommendation shopping guide based on big-data analysis helps them with purchasing decisions. RFID technology means products need only be carried along the payment pathway for an effortless check-out taking under 15 seconds.

“The goal of both Smart Retail and Suning’s Biu stores is not to use machines to replace manual work, but to improve the consumer experience continuously,” Mr Xiang stressed.
Suning also recently announced the next phase of a strategic partnership with Intel Corporation. The two companies have worked together since 2009 and will now cooperate on an industry-leading data centre establishment, cloud operation efficiency improvement and AI user experience optimisation, to create an innovative system and business process for Smart Retail and bring constructive insights and influence to both the industry and global society.

Meanwhile, the opening of CE China on Thursday, Dai Fengjun, Executive Vice-President South China Region – Suning.com group also addressed the audience, stating, “Suning is now not only a retail operator and internet company, but also a technology enterprise. This year, Suning put forward ‘smart retail for a better life’ as well as the idea of a good product, a good service and a good life. We hope that through this exhibition, we can introduce more technology and more noble products. And through the IFA platform, we hope that Chinese products can be placed on the global stage.”