April 3, 2020
Alibaba’s Hema grocery stores are changing retail | CNBC Reports

Alibaba’s Hema grocery stores are changing retail | CNBC Reports

I’m in Shanghai visiting Alibaba’s new
retail concept store. The name? Hema. Not only is the tech titan
expanding into offline retail, but this location is the first with
its own robot restaurant too. Robots are actually delivering,
pretty much, all the food. That’s where I’ll end up at after
the shopping experience. The Hema store is growing rapidly in
China, opening 65 locations in one year. There’s three pillars to its strategy:
serving as a place to shop in person, a distribution center for online
orders and the restaurant. It’s hoping to define what the
future of retail will look like. While I’m checking this out,
I might as well grab a basket. Let’s see what interests me. The first thing I notice is the pricing system. Every price
tag has a barcode, in which you can use the Hema app to scan the barcode and see the price of the item
online. You can also see reviews of that product. What’s also fascinating is that even though
these price tags look like they were printouts, it’s a special technology that can
change the price in real-time. And that’s not all. It even tells you when it was delivered
to the store and where it came from. You can even see a scan of a government
certificate proving, for instance, if it was organic. It also shows delivery options if
you decide not to buy it in store. I just saw a lady who works for the store
and she was fulfilling an online order. So using her scanner, she had a
bag, she would pick the products. And then what was really crazy, is instead of walking
across the store to get it where it needs to go, she put it on a conveyer belt, which then took it to the
ceiling, to the back area, where it will go out for delivery. So essentially now you’re talking about not only
a retail store, but also a distribution center. And if you live within three
kilometers of a Hema store, you can have delivery of your
groceries within 30 minutes. You see a lot of employees walking
around the store, fulfilling orders. I understand how it can maximize
efficiency of sourcing, but it creates a somewhat chaotic experience too,
when you have a lot of people running around. A lot of sample stations
throughout the store. It’s like a Costco. Sample
stations everywhere. At one point you ask yourself,
why even come to the store then? If everything is online and it’s such an easy
experience to just order from an app. Well one reason Chinese consumers
prefer to come in store is for seafood. It’s very important for the Chinese consumer to see
firsthand their seafood, to make sure it’s fresh. Alright, so I picked two items
that I’m going to check out with. One of them is bananas, and the other one is
these Lays potato chips, Italian red meat flavor. Why not try something new? There’s literally no traditional
cashier at this grocery store. It’s not like you have an option between
a cashier and self-checkout. So if you’re looking for that human
interaction, go somewhere else. Using the Hema app, which
is connected to Alipay, consumers swipe their phone in front of
this scanner, and that’s pretty much it. There’s also the option to
pay using your face, too. And now, let me try those chips. It’s actually a very subtle taste.
It’s not too strong, surprisingly. Now, it’s time to try the robot restaurant. To get a table here, you can check in at
a kiosk, you guessed it, using the app. It’s connected to your identity, your name, everything
you’ve bought in the past, and of course, your wallet. From there, you get assigned a table. Once you’re
assigned a table, you scan the barcode at the table. And then from there, you can just start
placing your order on the Hema app. So you’re not waiting for anyone to come take
your order. There’s no pen or paper, any of that. In fact, you really have no
interaction with a staff member. And then from there, the
robots deliver your food. And you’ve already paid,
all within the same app. Alibaba leveraged its existing technology
from the e-commerce automated warehouses to power these new robot restaurants. It’s really an entire ecosystem of robots that are working
together pretty well. I have yet to see a collision. Even the tablet at the
table, in a way, is obsolete. The only thing the tablet can really do is entertain you.
There’s games, which your phone probably has. You can call for a server if you
need, you can use the tablet for that. And then there’s also a demo of
how the robots work as well. The robots can’t handle
everything though. For complicated dishes, like soups,
that’ll require a human server.

100 thoughts on “Alibaba’s Hema grocery stores are changing retail | CNBC Reports

  1. Holy shit, this is what I was hoping to get when I come to United States from China. Now I would have to move back to China to enjoy easy life

  2. 盒马餐厅什么都好,速度快,味道也好吃

  3. To be honest, I have lived in China for almost 20 years.Now I'm in Canada and I always forget to bring cash or card when I leave my home for shopping or something.
    It's so convenient in China that we only need to bring our cellphone and we can do everything.

  4. The customers are not dining without human interaction. They are just socialing with whom they dine with instead of having to interact with servers. I for one do not have much interest in the latter.

  5. In fact, the restaurant is wasting lot of space for the robot (means higher rental expense). If they still need human to server some food, you are not saving that much on labor anyway.

  6. If you can´t even trust the CCP China government on published GDP data each year why should you trust its approval of organic or not? Everything in China can be hacked. China has all the appearance of a high tech dictatorship. They are pushing for the adoption of high technology in all aspects of business and social life to better control and track their citizens. We have made movies about this dystopian future while they are building society in real time to this nightmare scenario.

  7. Wtf with the comment of communist or capitalism? It is the work of its people not the government. It is 99% nothing to do with the political system. Will you say wow US people do better in tech because of the repub or demos? Nothing to do with the party. No communist China, the is only China existing in this world. Its is the hard work of humanity.

  8. i don't get all this china fanaticism and America bashing, i mean amazon and apple were the first a few years ago, heck a number of fast food chains have been using it to some extent too, alibaba is just catching up and has a huge market thats waiting to be exploited in china. other US chains are already catching up so it's not like alibaba is innovating anything, they're just one company out of many adopting new technology to keep with the shifting market trend.

    but china is going to be a closed off market within a few years so i'd jump ship if i were a western company asap, before everything is nationalized and things get hostile between the west and china.

  9. How is it possible?it's communist supermarket!it's not democratic!people in China are living under suppression and torture without human rights,this must be fake!i refuse to believe it!

  10. Personally, I don't know about buying food a place like that.  I don't know I want to shop a place like that.  I don't know I want to be that reliant on robots.


  12. Americans with their outdated checks and tips system could not grasp this advancement. Europeans hypocrites are all like oh no where’s my privacy and regulations on big companies?!

  13. In Chinese HE means AND and MA means HORSE – so, it is HE MA means ANDHORSE. Right ? there are other meanings to it too. Indian prostitutes and their agents are dancing taking off their clothes with fake advertisement that they are selling themselves in Internationals HOOKER MARKET AS — HEMA

  14. I'm watching this in my local Walmart. The first guy in front of me just pull out a stack of coupons which takes forever to scan through, whereas, the second person in front of me just forget his debit card pin and two expired credit cards. Lastly the third person bought something does not have a barcode and the cashier is calling the manager. 30 minutes already and I'm still waiting.

  15. 一个汉语都用不明白的品牌能走向世界?盒马,多么脑残的造词。。The way you make all these "modern" Chinese phrases is so stupid, and only shows the ignorance of modern Chinese people.

  16. Wow, China is easily 5-10 years ahead of us, here in North America. Traditional Companies, like VISA, Mastercard and so many government regulations are blocking our technology sector to advance.

  17. The reason this process just can’t work here in the states is simply because people just don’t know how to be civilize. They would end up trashing the stores, tagging all over them, yeah… People here just don’t give a damn. Sadly.

  18. Also fun pun, Hema Xiansheng, the way it is written, means Box horse fresh raw, but it sounds exactly identical to Mr. Hippopotamus.

  19. it's so obvious that america will be the future third world country… they will be the assembly line for China's needs.

  20. Did it occur to anyone that this is exactly what Big Brother in a communist state want? Everyone can be traced via their electronic identity footsteps. Your likes, dislikes, leanings, etc. are easily tracked. It's like carrying a homing device, via your phone. The next step are implanted computer chips in the human body that can interface with machines, SO CELLPHONES ARE NOT EVEN NEEDED! You guys see the trend???

  21. And indian stupid pm said that india will beat china hahahhahahahaah have u seen how india is ? We are still 50 years behind !! China is living in 2050 india is like 2000

  22. Red Italian flavor was one of the first few flavors Lays had at the beginning in China. I miss it from Australia. (although salt and vinegar is also great 🙂 )

  23. I can't remember the last time I signed for a credit card receipt or keyed in the pin for my debit card. Mostly use 'pay wave' just scanning my card with a 'wave'

  24. One thing for sure to know China is great at stealing ideas. This was already implemented in 2003 in the USA. China copies everything and anything. Name it Gucci, I phone, Nike, Amazon even Disneys movies for Christ sake! They are amazing at that! Lol Way to go China! 😂✌🏼

  25. The amount of stupid comments is amazing, how much does google pay these monkeys for commenting on youtube?

  26. well everyone complaining about government collecting data from you, anyone remembers Snowden? The difference is in China it's a known thing and everyone is fine about it. If you dont commit crimes, and cameras, face recognition systems make your neighborhood safer, why not?

  27. Just wait until you see what happens in the Greater Bay Area of China. The next Silicon Valley……..

  28. Poof!!! …. and there you have it, one thunderstorm blackout and China just got taken over by no tech Vietnam!

  29. living in China for such a long time now and it is amazing that how these things could be so interesting for other people from different countries. China is truly going all out in everything

  30. This is all great and everything but for ME, I still prefer doing my own grocery and being able to interact with people like the cashier or a seller of some food to try on.

  31. I think the delivery method emphasis too much about robots🤖️ handling this job, and it's more like "showing off" what the tech giant own. The dish delivery process should be made less sensible because the best technology does exist but catch less awarenesses. hoping for further improvement.😂

  32. Be careful food poisoning in china dude .. 😆 anyway the store not so crowded.. too much techs can be very boring .. 😆

  33. omg so much plastic used for groceries …. our poor EARTH !!!!!!!! ZERO PRIVACY !!!! more ways to control ppl and still identity !!!!!!!! so stupid !!!

  34. It's cool but it seems like everything you do in store becomes data available for the government. That I could do without.

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