Tencent Helps Retailers Scale Their Cashier-Free Stores

Tencent Helps Retailers Scale Their Cashier-Free Stores
Banks, Insurance & Financial Services

Using its WeChat platform as a mode of payment, Tencent is on the forefront of developing tools for unmanned retail stores

Cristina DiGiacomo
  • 4 may 2018

While Amazon Go’s launch heralded a new shopping experience in the U.S., China has been innovating in the cashier-free retail space for quite some time. Companies like Alibaba, Suning, JD.com and BingoBox already have operational “grab and go” stores. Tencent has joined this group by supplying its WeChat platform to retailers as a mode of payment. Beyond that, Tencent is developing other retail technologies with the goal of digitizing and optimizing the customer experience.

Tencent’s model is to leverage its existing platform to provide tailored service technology for multiple retail applications, including supermarkets and hotels. Since rolling out WeChat payment options in 2014, Tencent has been moving into developing tools, such as smart identification, utilizing big data and offering secure database technologies. Combined with Tencent services—like its cloud service, social ad integration, and other mini-programs—this creates a powerhouse opportunity for more retailers to go into the unmanned space.

One example is China’s EasyGo, an unmanned convenience store. Customers scan a QR code upon entry, log into the WeChat payment service, which activates an RFID scanning system, and shop. If shopper wants to buy something, they simply take it off the shelf and walk out. The RFID will read the items and charge them to their WeChat account. Tencent’s involvement in EasyGo is one step in their dedication to a seamless optimized customer experience.

Tencent has also have made a commitment to securing user data and avoiding privacy issues. “We will work on data without violating the privacy of users. The secondary use of data is also dependent on our collaboration with our partners. The function requirements and data applications in different industries are not the same. The WeChat platform is the platform for the entire industry, so the development of secondary applications will be based on the needs of the industry in data applications,” Bai Zhenjie, Operations Director of WeChat Pay, said at a Tencent conference held on March 30.

As shopping becomes more automated, options like those coming from Tencent will reduce the barrier for retailers to get into the unmanned retail space.

Tencent


Lead Image: People shopping on Beijing Street in Guangzhou, China stock photo from PnPy/Shutterstock

While Amazon Go’s launch heralded a new shopping experience in the U.S., China has been innovating in the cashier-free retail space for quite some time. Companies like Alibaba, Suning, JD.com and BingoBox already have operational “grab and go” stores. Tencent has joined this group by supplying its WeChat platform to retailers as a mode of payment. Beyond that, Tencent is developing other retail technologies with the goal of digitizing and optimizing the customer experience.

+AI
+amazon
+Amazon Go
+Asia
+Asia
+Automotive
+banking
+china
+financial services
+future of retail
+hospitality
+retail
+technology
+WeChat
+work

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