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JD.com’s Robot-Run Store Combines Online And In-Store Experiences
02/04/22

JD.com’s Robot-Run Store Combines Online And In-Store Experiences

The Chinese retail giant has landed in Europe, with two next-gen robotic stores launched in the Netherlands under a new brand name, Ochama. 

The new name, Ochama, is a portmanteau of “Omnichannel” and “Amazing,” and JD.com is doing its best to live up to the aptly chosen identity. Two Ochama stores have opened in Leiden and Rotterdam, with an additional two planned locations set to follow in Amsterdam and Utrecht. World Bank data indicates that 92% of the Dutch population live in cities, and the high level of urbanization is why the Chinese retailer chose the Netherlands to launch its new offering. Ochama is the first omnichannel retailer in the Netherlands to offer both food and non-food products, including groceries, household appliances, baby products, fashion and apparel, home furnishings, and more in a single shopping app. 

The company ​​aims to create an unprecedented shopping format for its European customers, with better price and seamless service – and is enlisting robots and other automated technologies to help. The format of the stores is unique, merging online and in-app ordering with pick-up shops where robots prepare customer parcels, as well as a home delivery service.. At the store, shoppers scan a QR code on the Ochama app at checkout, and can  watch as robots pick and pack their orders, which then appear on a conveyor belt and are carried to them as part of a cashierless experience. The automated warehouse is part futurist fulfillment center, part fun interactive showroom display, as shoppers can witness themselves the choreographed fleet of AGVs, robotic arms, and more that enable their tech-fueled shopping journey. Shoppers are also able to elect for next-day delivery of their items, rather than visiting the shop for pickup. 

By fully tapping the technologies in logistics and supply chain management, the Ochama shops are able to enjoy pricing efficiencies and can pass on those savings, often as much as 10%, to their customers. Ochama’s omnichannel foray is the Chinese retailer’s first expansion into physical stores in the region. By using high-tech robotic automation solutions and advanced supply chain management, Ochama hopes it can appeal to the Dutch inclination for innovation and the environment. At the same time, the company will enjoy reduced labor and operational costs due to the automated nature of the Ochama concepts. 

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This article originally appeared in the PSFK iQ report, Enhancing CX with Frictionless Retail Automation.