Find The Missing Piece of OmniChannel Puzzle
Our target clients include any kind of retailer, no matter online or offline, which like to utilize the information technology to realize the omnichannel strategy.
Until now, omnichannel strategies get very limited success. The primary reason is the deep gap between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores, resulting the customer behaviors among online and volume stores be totally different. Our solution is to break a traditional store into various "intelligent retail machines”, which are something like vending machines but offer much more capability and flexibility. Through theses distributed intelligent retail machines the delivery of goods is no longer limited to "storefront sale" or "home delivery”. Since these machines are not necessary to operate in a “closed storefront”, in turn, the consumption of goods can be more intuitive, and more close to our living or working space. Offline retailers may like to use them to massively extend their physical channels and remain cost-effective. Online retailers may like to use them as an alternative way to deliver order products. With centralized software to manage product info & inventory across channels, consumers can ultimately shop the same way thru mobile App, regardless of location and time.
Emerging of Intelligent Retail Machines
Currently, there are 3 major types of retail channels: wholesale volume store, convenience store, and online e-commerce. However, what is the representative retail channel in the mobile Internet era?
Although e-commerce can be more convenient through Mobile Apps, but transactions ultimately depend on home deliveries to fulfill. It results the logistics become the bottle neck of e-commerce.
For a similar situation, although traditional storefronts' service efficiency can get improved by providing O2O integration through Mobile Apps, however, the stores setting conditions and sunk cost remain high, and the installation locations are still very limited.
In fact, neither of above can really take the ubiquitous advantage of Mobile Apps.
Therefore, on one hand, how to improve the distribution efficiency of e-commerce through the "temporary storage point" formed by some smart devices has naturally become the evolving direction of traditional e-commerce.
On the other hand, how to reduce the demand for space and manpower of "storefronts" by utilizing some smart devices, so that the density of "storefronts" could be greatly increased, has become the thinking direction of traditional storefronts.
These two thinkings from different starting points, the ultimate common meeting point is the emerging of "Intelligent Retail Machines".
Problems with Current Unmanned Stores
Both Amazon in the United States and Alibaba in China have launched their unmanned store experiments. However, all the "unmanned stores" that are trial-operated on the market still use "convenience stores" as the role model.
Setting up cost of a storefront is not reduced but increased
For retailers, it is still necessary to open a storefront in an enclosed space next to the street. This store's minimum threshold has not dropped, but it has risen due to the use of a lot of technology.
User Experience is not much better then before
For consumers, when consumers want to spend, they still need to leave the living community or working office to go to the store to consume. Except for unstaffed checkouts, the overall consumer experience is not much different.
Problems with Traditional Vending Machines
Vending machines, especially those smart vending machines with mobile payment capabilities have been seen as an important trend for the retail channel evolution in the future. However, conventional mechanical vending machines have a number of limitations described below.
Limitations in handling goods size and weight
Traditional vending machines rely on a large number of mechanical devices. In addition to high production costs, these machines have a high failure rate and are only suitable for the sale of standardized products with fixed size and fixed weight.
Limitations in handling frozen food
The mechanical slides and shafts of traditional vending machines are prone to mechanical failure due to condensation of moisture into ice. Therefore, it is almost impossible to use it in the sale of frozen foods.
Limitations in handling marketing events and sales promotion
Traditional vending machines can only sell one item at a time, and the price change is also very troublesome. Therefore, it is unable to meet the requirements of various marketing promotion that are common in the storefronts, such as: membership discounts, instant price changes, bundle prices, and tying gifts.
In an e-commerce system, to fulfill a sales order, a series of instructions such as picking order, packing order, shipping order..will be generated and executed. Because each order is processed independently, the entire process requires a lot of manpower and wastes a lot of redundant resource.
In our smart retail system, after the consumer do purchase by mobile apps, the platform also generates a series of “Instruction” to be executed. The major difference is that these instructions are encrypted in a machine-readable format and are interpreted and executed immediately by certain edge intelligent machine.
Customer Experience Innovation
Comparing to the traditional vending machine, the Intelligent Retail Machine can handle a wider range of products, from daily necessities, pet supplies, beer, nitrogen cold brew coffee/tea, to light food (salads, sandwiches), bento, frozen food, handmade desserts, to fresh vegetables, and meet most of requirements of daily life.
The deployment locations of the Intelligent Retail Machine can be in the lobby of the office building, in the factory staff lounge/salary hall, in the transportation transit, in the foyer of the apartment. The so-called "storefront" does not reproduce the limit as a "street shop" and does not have to be in a closed space.
Using standard and user friendly UI in mobile Apps to replace the complex or dumb UI in traditional vending machines, customers can enjoy a more intuition process to purchase goods from our intelligent retail machines.
Retail Business Model Innovation
It's not just a offline vending machine, it's not just an online mobile commerce. It is a hybrid of traditional e-commerce and traditional vending machine. It is the ultimate version of “mixed-line” commerce.
Working with traditional storefronts, it can be used to increase the service level during peak hours, or to provide unstaffed service during unpopular hours.
The distributions of merchandise management by these intelligent retail machines can be analyzed, forecasted, and optimized through the big data in the cloud.
Through the combination of cloud computing, mobile Apps and Intelligent Retail Machines, services and commerce become really ubiquitous.
The information technology used by current vending machines is actually stayed at the level of 20 years ago. Not only is bulky, low in security, but also has a high failure rate.
Traditional vending machines usually use a dumb User Interface which includes lots of buttons and indicators, otherwise they use a costly IPC with a large touch screen as their UI. Neither way benefits from mobile phones and Apps. By removing these old UI elements from our intelligent retail machines, we use modern mobile Apps that conform to standard UI conventions as the user interface to provide more consistent and better user experience .
Our approach combine the mobile App and cloud computing service together with the IOT communication unit, Edge Computing unit, and Hardware Control and Data Collection unit. It fully utilize of the modern software architecture and semiconductor chips to flexibly compose the Intelligent Retailer Machines for different scenarios. At the same time, it meets the strict requirements of low cost, high reliability and high scalability.
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