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Enabling Traditional Convenience Stores, The Future Is AI+ Retail

- Apr 19, 2018 -

 Enabling traditional convenience stores, the future is AI+ retail

Introduction: Amazon’s unmanned retail store, Amazon Go, recently opened to the public. It uses computer vision and machine learning algorithms to track shoppers and collect fees based on the consumer’s choice of products, eliminating the role of the cashier.

Amazon’s unmanned retail store, Amazon Go, recently opened its doors to the outside world. It uses computer vision and machine learning algorithms to track shoppers and collect fees based on what consumers choose to eliminate the role of the cashier. In response, Comma Smart Retail CEO Feng Xinyu said: "The high technology of Amazon Go is difficult for us to replace, but it is difficult to replicate itself on a large scale because the high cost of tens of millions of dollars is not easy to expand the market." People's retail engulfs China, and its production is driven by the technology behind it, such as face recognition, RFID technology, visual identification, and in-depth identification. A series of unmanned retail formats including no convenience stores, unmanned shelves and smart containers will occupy the air in 2017.

Unlike uninformed retail enterprises, Guangzhou Comma Smart Retail is a startup company focused on artificial intelligence applications in the new retail sector. It was established in September 2017 and acquired Black Hole Capital’s angel round of financing. Feng Xinyu said: "Comma's smart retail mainly uses artificial intelligence technology to create intelligent commodity systems, empower businesses to solve self-checkout problems, improve theft prevention, reduce cargo loss and other issues, and achieve results in reducing labor costs and improving efficiency." Yiouou understands that the number of comma intelligent retail employees is about 100, among which the R&D team accounts for two-thirds of the total. Its R&D team includes AI R&D, system R&D, and hardware R&D. In fact, there are not a few players in the smart retail sector. Here are the relevant information of billion euros for some smart retail companies:


Enabling offline traditional convenience stores, artificial intelligence is the social water and electricity

Technology has spawned the emergence of new retail formats. In the process, new formats have also promoted technology. Feng Xinyu said: "In the future, the direction of artificial intelligence development in the retail sector is to realize cost reduction and efficiency increase, and retailing will also be one of the areas in which artificial intelligence will be realized most quickly." Comma's smart retailing mainly focused on product empowerment at the initial stage. Fast-moving consumer goods and convenience Two major industries, the main three products, intelligent checkout, smart access control and smart black box. In December last year, Comma Smart Retail transformed its first traditional convenience store in Guangzhou. The main purpose of this transformation was to validate independent research and development products, collect relevant data, and pave the way for next-generation product update iterations and upgrades. Through testing, Feng Xinyu believes that each store can save at least 40% of the manpower cost, which is mainly reflected in the installation of the intelligent checkout counter, which can reduce the number of 7 employees in a convenience store to four.

At present, comma intelligence is in the initial stage of R&D. Feng Xinyu told Yiou that in the March-March period of this year, the company’s products have become commercialized. Recently, it is creating 1-2 cooperation cases with individual key customers, but it is still necessary to rapidly expand the market. a period of time. In addition, after six months, comma smart retail will complete cooperation with relevant core customers. Since comma smart retail is not involved in operations and supply chain, Feng Xinyu believes that the company will not be restricted by the choice of regions in market expansion. At the same time, in the face of expanding high-cost issues, Feng Xinyu said that the company will focus on the first and second tier cities in the first quarter because of the high level of user acceptance in the first and second tier cities, followed by the high market density. In addition, for the long-term development goals, Feng Xinyu hopes to complete the renovation of 1000-2000 convenience stores nationwide in 2018. In the choice of cooperative businesses, Feng Xinyu stated that he is negotiating with related businesses, but the specific circumstances are not convenient to disclose. However, for the main fast-moving consumer products, Zhou Hei Hei, three squirrels, convenience store brand family, and 711 companies may become potential customers of comma smart retail.

"Accelerating offline transformation, empowering rather than selling equipment"

In 2018, unattended retail outlets continued. Feng Xinyu had his own ideas from building a no-convenience store to leading the team into the technology. He believes that now is the era of traditional offline retail businesses facing transformation. Only convenience store stores need to be transformed and upgraded. Stores need to increase efficiency and reduce labor costs. At the consumer end, consumption promotion upgrades, consumption levels, and consumer experience requirements increase. It is also pushing the transition speed. For unretailed retail, Feng Xinyu said: "If it is just for nobody and no one, no one will retail or be a false proposition." There is actually a problem with goods and location in unmanned convenience stores. The first is that cooked food is not convenient at all. Sales are carried out in convenience stores, and the retailing of commodities such as cigarettes and alcohol is strictly required. In addition, strictly speaking, setting up an unmanned convenience store box is equivalent to the selection of an address, and the higher BD cost will be encountered at this time.

Simply talking about the comma smart retail business model, and finding the offline store that is willing to transform and upgrade is the first and most important step, because only after reaching cooperation can the output of its equipment be realized, but Feng Xinyu stated that comma smart retail is not profitable from selling equipment. The company, according to Feng Xinyu, said that the future company's profit is the long-term service income after the equipment is sold.

"Artificial Intelligence + Retail" is the Future Trend of Retail Development

Feng Xinyu believes that offline convenience stores will exist in two forms: smart stores and non-intelligent shops. In contrast, smart stores have advantages in terms of human cost, efficiency, and experience, and this will soon be realized. In 5-10, most stores will be intelligently transformed, so retail artificial intelligence or understanding "Smart retail" is the future development trend.

Previously, people in the industry stated that secure cloud services, data flow analysis, deep learning, computer vision recognition, and the Internet of Things are the core technologies that enable the retail industry to realize “Nirvana”; the president of the Suning Institute of Technology believes that China’s consumer groups are large. More policy incentives and relatively loose regulatory restrictions are the main reasons why application innovations such as “smart retail” are landing faster in China.

New technologies have promoted the emergence of new business models. Medical, financial, retail, and automotive industries have all talked about smart terms and have to admit that technology has emerged in many areas and will play an important role in the future. Just as the application of artificial intelligence technology in the retail sector, the ultimate goal is to achieve high efficiency and consumer-side contact, so Feng Xinyu believes that improving efficiency, reducing costs, and enhancing consumer experience are three major issues that artificial intelligence has given to retailers. At the same time, some people in the industry believe that the current application experience of artificial intelligence technology is still in its infancy. Realizing the benefits it brings to people also requires technological progress and time testing.