Unmanned retail: a "conceptual" tuyere

Unmanned retail: a

Author: Zhao Zheng

Editor's note / 2017 is the first year of the retail business. Unmanned supermarkets and unmanned shelves, as the main commercial forms of unmanned retailing, not only attract the participation of Alibaba, Jingdong Group, Sunning Easy to buy and other e-commerce giants, but also attract a large number of start-up companies into this field, these large and small companies, with a large amount of capital, for a time become popular. The tuyere.

Unmanned shelves, as a new consumption scenario such as office grabbing, are favored by the capital market. According to incomplete statistics, from 2017 to early 2018, unmanned shelves, a small segment of the capital market into the real gold and silver of $3 billion, into the field of entrepreneurship companies are up to 50.

Amazon Group launched Amazon Go Unmanned Supermarket in 2016, Alibaba launched "Taocao" in 2017, Jingdong Group launched Jingdong X Unmanned Supermarket, in addition to fruit boxes, F5 future stores, Easy Go convenience stores and other unmanned convenience stores are beginning to layout a first-tier city.

However, unmanned retail has undergone a year of trial and expansion. What is the status quo? Recently, daily delicacies have been exposed that unmanned shelves have been evacuated from second-tier cities such as Zhengzhou and Changsha. Other second-tier cities also have the corresponding information of evacuation, layoffs and branch closures. As a leader in the field of unmanned shelves, the daily delicacy is still the same, other small and medium-sized start-ups will be more difficult? Despite the strong support of capital, if it is not possible to achieve commercialization and profitability, no one can retail for their own blood transfusion and completion of business model exploration, ultimately only a concept.

Rapid rise

Capital draught

According to the Research Report on the market prospects of China's unmanned shelves in 2017 published by the China Business Industry Research Institute in early 2018, 2017 is defined as the "first year" of unmanned retailing. In terms of market potential, unmanned retailing is a cake of hundreds of billions of dollars. It is estimated that by 2022, the number of users of unmanned retailing will reach 240 million and the market will reach 950 billion yuan.

Since July 2017, the focus on office shelves has been on the rise, peaking at the end of 2017 and staying high until the first half of 2018. Many capitalists have sniffed at the change and started to pour money crazily into the concept of "office unmanned shelves," ranging from millions of yuan to tens of millions of dollars, including daily delicacies, convenience of chimpanzees, fruits, retailers, convenience of tomatoes and seven koalas.

Due to the early entry into the unmanned shelf area, coupled with catch up with the development of the industry, the daily financing process is smooth sailing. In December 2014, every day, we received $5 million from angel capital and gifted capital. In May 2015, Tencent and Guang Shun capital invested 10 million US dollars in A investment. In November 2015, Tencent and Zheshang earned 200 million yuan B investment. In April 2016, it won another 230 million yuan B+ investment from far wing investment and Huachang capital. In January 2017, completed a $100 million C round of financing, led by Lenovo Venture Capital and Tencent, Korean KTB, Huachuang Capital, Far Wing, Zhejiang Venture Capital. In March 2017, it completed a $230 million C + round of financing, led by Tiger Global and Yuansheng Capital, and Time Capital participated in joint investment. On Dec. 29, 2017, the unmanned retail items incubated by Youxian for half a year were conveniently purchased, split into independent subsidiaries and completed a $200 million A + B round of financing, in which Tencent led a total of $53 million A round, Yuan Sheng Capital, Time Capital, KTB follow-up investment; Everbright Holdings led a total of $144 million B round, Dinghui, Arctic. GVC, Qiming venture, Jun Lian capital, low light venture capital, Mindwork Ventures, light capital and investment.

And the convenient financing process of the star is also very bright. Founded in June 2017, Chimpanzee has won nearly 100 million yuan Angel round investment led by China Speed of Light three months later; A1 round of financing is led by Sequoia Capital China Fund, Huaxing Capital and Yuanhuang Capital follow-up investment, financing is as high as 380 million yuan; March 2018 also received the strategic investment of Ant Golden Clothing, the amount of investment has not been announced to the public. But it must be in the scale of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Gome's development process is similar to that of chimpanzees. In the $3 billion financing market, Gome attracted more than $600 million in financing on its own. Investors include IDG Capital, Lanchi Venture Capital and Fengrui Capital.

With the help of capital, no one retails rapidly. It can be said that in the first and second-tier cities in China, unmanned shelves are everywhere, and unmanned supermarkets are gradually established in the first-tier cities, becoming the representative of new retail formats in China.

Unmanned rack

All sides fight to head competition.

The essence of new retail lies in remodeling "people, markets, goods", changing the past "people looking for goods", but let "goods looking for people", so that the shelves better understand consumers become the key. As far as the office scene is concerned, the scene has a large base of people, fast acceptance of new things, and high consumption capacity, and these new retail stakeholders stay in the office for the longest time. Let white-collar workers out of the office can buy fruits, yogurt, juice, bread, biscuits and other starving snacks, so that no shelves came into being.

"Based on this, the convenience of the star has made it clear from the very beginning that it is a clear positioning consumer group for white-collar commuters. Considering the characteristics of white-collar workers, such as high work pressure, fast pace of life, less time and so on, chimpanzees are easy to create'convenience honeycomb', take the lead in starting refined operations, technical empowerment, and build social scenes. The convenience of CEO, Jiang Hua said.

Specifically, chimpanzee convenience in the form of intelligent containers into the white-collar recent scene, convenience stores opened in the white-collar commuting route, for them to create a 100-meter life around the consumer economy. So the convenience of site selection is around the white-collar commuters consumer line set up, not only in a single office building, but also in the office business circle, consumer business circle, open and semi-open space.

"At present, the smart container is the smallest retail terminal conveniently used by chimpanzees, compared with traditional convenience stores, e-commerce shopping and other long waiting, is advantageous." Si Jianghua said.

There are two types of cabinets, which are open shelves and intelligent containers. Among them, the open shelf purchase steps include sweeping into the small program - select goods plus shopping carts - pay - take a few steps. Smart containers are in the pilot phase, where users need to bind their accounts for the first time they consume. After that, they can generally complete their shopping in 10 seconds by just three steps: open-take-close, which greatly reduces the shopping flow and provides a "take-go" shopping experience.

Seemingly simple shopping and payment process, in fact, behind the support of black technology. The empowerment of artificial intelligence is becoming the core engine of the development of the unmanned retail industry. In terms of daily delicacies, the daily delicacies "convenience purchase" is fully laying out intelligent cabinets based on visual recognition. Tencent Cloud provides in-depth technical service support and will continue to enhance the shopping experience by combining the Tencent Premium Laboratory's commodity identification algorithm, Weixin confidential payment, user purchase behavior matching and other programs. At the same time, Convenience Purchase also cooperates with Haier Commercial Refrigerator Strategy, which provides hardware development and production solutions for intelligent cabinets.

The convenience honeycomb of chimpanzee relies on big data and Internet technology. It is based on the big data technology such as unmanned shelves + convenience stores and so on. The convenience of chimpanzee can penetrate the needs of consumers, respond in time, adjust the contents of goods on shelves, and achieve "thousands of shelves and thousands of faces" for businesses. Products and scenes still have strong data labels.

Nobody supermarket

The key question is when to make profits?

A "fruit box" was set up in a public square in an upscale residential area in Beijing. The reporter of China Business Daily saw that the standard version of the unmanned convenience store was actually a "slimming" convenience store, occupying only 15.6 square meters, with hundreds of kinds of food, daily necessities and drinks on its shelves. Material. It doesn't seem to be very different from the convenience store that someone is in charge of.

If a consumer wants to enter a convenience store, he must open the door (first time access to a convenience phone number) - choose goods - put them in the cash register - pay by sweeping code - go out. The standardization and unmanned shopping process is to reduce the inefficiency of the artificial operation process and affect the shopping experience.

"The unmanned cashier Bingo Box Mini, pioneered by the Fruit Box, is a cashier clearing system based on image recognition and other technologies. It takes only two steps from selecting goods to completing the settlement. 8 seconds to complete the settlement, compared with people shop, can effectively reduce the queuing phenomenon. The fruit box CEO Chen Zilin told reporters.

In Chen Zilin's view, because of its small area, large-scale replication and low cost, the fruit box can penetrate into the community and areas with low flow. At present, it is laid in the community, schools, scenic spots and other places, suitable for a variety of scenes. Because a large number of operating costs have been replaced by unmanned technology, it can be said that the creation of 300-2000 yuan a day sales of new channels.

Unmanned stores need a lot of technology accumulation, involving many technical fields and modules, so the fruit box has always been very important to the accumulation of technical personnel. At present, there are nearly 300 professional and technical R&D engineers among more than 500 employees, involving software, hardware, large data and artificial intelligence and other fields.

For example, BingBox Mini, a large-scale commercial unattended billing technology that began this year, is an epoch-making billing system based on artificial intelligence machine vision, in-depth learning algorithms, sensor fusion technology, etc., which can replace traditional cashier solutions. In addition, there are a lot of convenience stores in precision marketing, intelligent operation, security and other aspects of depth optimization, users can smoothly enter, purchase, settlement and leave these links.

Chen Zilin believes that no one shop in the supply chain management is more efficient, lower cost, fruit box has reached a strategic cooperation with the world's United China, 100 groups, access to a wealth of supply chain resources, and through artificial intelligence and other technologies and user consumption data analysis, can quickly adjust the sales category, speed up the flow of goods. Speed up. Background intelligent disk storage system of fruit box can quickly understand the sales and inventory situation of each store's products, timely replenishment, so as to adjust the store's commodity category and display location, so as to achieve thousands of stores.

In view of the high rate of theft and damage in the unmanned supermarket, the fruit box said that the company has a complete intelligent video surveillance system and recovery mechanism. Not only in the box inside the "small action" nowhere to escape, once the occurrence of mistake and other situations in the box can give timely warning.

It is reported that in early 2018, the fruit box received B round of financing, the amount of $80 million, half a year, the fruit box has been stationed in 28 cities in hundreds of small districts.

Under the impetus of capital, it may not be too difficult to seize the market and expand market share. But when is the biggest problem facing the fruit box?

Operational problems

Private retail is still a heavy asset.

Today, with rents rising and labor costs rising, tradition

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