China’s trumps Amazon with plans to open hundreds of “unmanned” shops

Chinese online retail giant has revealed plans to open hundreds of “unmanned” convenience stores, effectively dwarfing Amazon’s plans to open checkout-free stores. has already trialled unmanned store concept at its Beijing headquarters, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The stores utilise facial and recognition technology to record payment and product identity, and customers do not wait in a checkout line. said ceiling cameras recognise customers’ movement and generate heat maps to monitor activity and customer traffic flow, product selection and customer preferences – all of which helps store owners to stock efficiently. added that facial recognition will allow for customised adverts based on an individual’s shopping behaviour.

There are plans to eventually license the technology to other third-party retailers.

The online retailer also had plans to use driverless vehicles with pre-programmed routes and secure lockers to deliver purchased items.’s annoucement makes Amazon’s plans to launch Amazon Go – a checkout-free, cashless store that was first announced earlier this year – pale in comparison.

“These two smart-store solutions will completely change what it means to go to take a trip to the store,” vice president Song Ma said.

“From helping small stores’ owners streamline their supply chains and increase stocking efficiency, to speeding up check out, this is a massive jump beyond anything in use today.”

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