China's 24-hour unstaffed convenience store performing well
China's first 24-hour unstaffed convenience store—Bingo Box—is reportedly performing well since it was launched last August, thepaper.cn reported.
The operators say all eight trial stores have received tens of thousands of customers, 80% of whom come back time and time again. They say there have been no cases of theft or vandalism.
A 24-hour unstaffed convenience store "BingoBox" launches in Shanghai. [Photo: VCG]
Bingo Box added that the first round of financing worth more than 100 million yuan (14.7 million US dollars), is now complete, and they plan to establish a further 5000 unstaffed convenience stores over the coming year.
Products sold in Bingo Box are lower priced than conventional shops, but are a little higher than large supermarkets. The operator says the 15-square meter unstaffed stores can sell as many goods as a 40 square meter staffed store, and the operating cost is just 15 percent of a regular businesses.
Customers access and pay for the goods in the stores by scanning a QR code after real-name registration through their smart phones.
To ensure security, once a customer enters the store, the door will close behind them.
The inside of a 24-hour unstaffed convenience store "BingoBox" launches in Shanghai. [Photo: VCG]
Some critics say it's possible for others to enter improperly, without scanning, by closely following a legitimate customer as they enter. The company says they plan to introduce an artificial intelligence system to solve the 'tailgating' problem.
Currently, BingoBox stores come in two sizes, medium and large, with areas of 12.48 square meters and 15.6 meters respectively, selling food, drinks, dairy products and general necessities.
Customers can pay through the App, using Alipay and WeChat.
Meanwhile, China's largest retailer Alibaba also opened its first unstaffed store, the Tao Café in Hangzhou on Friday.