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Asian retailers are going bananas

The latest in retail and loyalty, May 2019

Asian retailers are going bananas

Asian retailers are going bananas


Supermarkets in Vietnam and Thailand are leading the fight against single-use plastics by doing away with plastic bags altogether and replacing them with banana leaves. There are other plans in place, too. This follows the Big C supermarket has already started using biodegradable bags made from corn.

Amazon Go to accept cash payments

Amazon Go stores, which let customers buy items without waiting in checkout lines, will start accepting cash, amid intensifying criticism that the company is discriminating against the unbanked. The retailer has not specified a timeline, nor has it determined precisely how it will accept cash payments for the stores. 

Sainsbury’s trials mobile-first checkout-less convenience store

Following on from the introduction of checkout-free shopping at an Argos, Sainsbury’s has announced the debut of a till-free concept at its Holborn Circus convenience store in London. The concept uses the SmartShop Scan, Pay & Go app. All checkouts and till areas have been removed from the premises. Shoppers must download the app to their phones to be able to shop the store, which specialises in food-to-go. Items are scanned in as they are added to a basket, with payment made via a QR code upon exit. A separate helpdesk is available for shoppers wishing to pay with cash or card. The trial is currently scheduled to last for three months.

Walmart’s new Intelligent Retail Lab (IRL) shows a glimpse into the future of retail

Over the past few months, a Walmart neighborhood Market in New York, has been quietly transforming with artificial intelligence-enabled cameras, interactive displays and a massive data center. This store isn’t just a shiny new object, equipped with tech for the sake of tech. It’s a unique real-world shopping environment designed to explore the possibilities artificial intelligence can contribute to.

What’s Inside IRL?
IRL is set up to gather information about what’s happening inside the store through an impressive array of sensors, cameras and processors helping the team to focus on product inventory and availability. There are also features that stick out right away, such as a glass-encased data center bathed in blue glow. The idea of a live shopping environment infused with AI is exciting, but it also raises questions about all the visible technology. This was a key consideration for the team while designing IRL, and the store includes multiple information stations for customers to visit to understand exactly how AI makes the store tick

Carrefour Belgium tests biometrics for customer identification 

Carrefour is trialing fingerprint shopper recognition at a Carrefour Express store in Belgium. The initiative follows recent similar testing in Romania and is based around shoppers downloading an app called ‘MyFinger’ which, it is envisioned, will ultimately replace loyalty cards. The solution is seen as particularly pertinent for the convenience space as these stores see less frequent use of loyalty schemes. Once the app is installed, the shopper’s thumbprint is scanned and can be used as a combined payment/loyalty identifier on subsequent trips. Shoppers that don’t have loyalty cards can register in-store for the service via a thumbprint reader. When they make payment via their credit or debit card, that card is then linked to the biometric user ID to facilitate future payments. 

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