Incorporating Technology Into Retail

China has long been a leader in cashless payment. From transport by Didi to fruits from a street stall run by farmers, consumers in China can scan the QR code and make payment without cash literally for everything. Different from the Western countries, cashless payment in China is mainly via mobile apps such as Alipay and WeChat, the two most popular mobile payment services. According to the People’s Bank of China, mobile payment in 2016 amounted to US$23.42 trillion, making China the No. 1 cashless society in the world. In consultation with your economics tutor in economics tuition class, compare the cashless payments in China and Western countries and their advantages and disadvantages. You may sign up for economics tuition with an economics tutor should you need help with the subject.

Alibaba’s New Retail Concept Store – Hema

Incorporation of technology is not restricted to the mode of payment in China. Since 2015, the e-commerce giant Alibaba has launched its new retail concept store Hema. With mobile app linking to their Taobao or Alipay account, consumers can shop online or physically at the supermarkets and have the dishes prepared/delivered for their enjoyment in 30 minutes.

Each product has a unique QR code. Consumers can use their mobile app to scan the product and find the relevant product information. Once they have confirmed purchase and made payment, the products are picked by the store assistants and sent to the kitchen for chefs to prepare. The freshly cooked food are then sent to the in-store dining area for consumption or delivered to their doorsteps. The supermarket also serves as a warehouse, equipped with a smart inventory management system for more efficient deliveries. Hema’s new retail concept is well supported by Alibaba’s existing advantage in mobile payment services and strong network of logistics. Discuss with your economics tutor in economics tuition possibility of this concept being adopted in Singapore. A good economics tutor should be able to teach you how to apply economics concepts into real world events like this. Mr Edmund Quek, principal economics tutor of Economics Cafe Learning Centre is the most highly regarded economics tutor renowned for incorporating real world events into his teaching. His economics tuition centre is conveniently located within walking distance from Bishan MRT station. Mr Quek is also the author of a few best-selling economics textbooks which he gives out for free to students of who sign up for his economics tuition.

Within a couple of years, Hema has achieved a record psf sales that is three to five times that of other supermarkets. There is currently a total of some 100 Hema supermarkets in 16 tier one and tier two cities in China, including Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Ningbo, among others. The blistering success of Hema is a testament to Alibaba’s strategy to incorporate online and offline experiences seamlessly. It also offers assurance of food quality with transparent information on food origin and producers just a scan away, against the background of China’s long existing food safety problems.

Robots Manned Store in Singapore

Habitat by Honestbee is the first of its kind grocery store that challenges our usual perception of retail in Singapore. Located in Pasir Panjang, the store has no cashiers. Instead, consumers are served by robots who scan and bag their groceries. The entire process takes merely 5 minutes. Habitat by Honestbee can be considered a test ground for robots as the ultimate solution to the long-standing manpower problem that retailers across Singapore have been facing. The robots have an estimated capacity of handling 300 orders per hour, leading to much higher productivity as compared with human cashiers. Approach your economics tutor for an insightful analysis of the various advantages of robots over human cashiers.

Boasting a 60,000 square foot space and over 20,000 products, Habitat by Honestbee offers Singapore’s largest range of truffle products. There is also a wide range of meats, oysters and more. In addition, the retail space is integrated with a hydroponics lab, a florist and eating place.

In keeping with the constantly evolving consumer lifestyle, mainly as a result of technology advancement in recent years, retailers around the world must step up efforts in incorporating technology to stay ahead of the intense competition from both online and offline.

Linda Geng

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