Taobao cashier-less store to open in Hangzhou

The Taobao unmanned store, backed by Alibaba, will be part of a bigger effort by the e-commerce giant's foray into the retail sector.
Ti Gong

The Tao Cafe was open on a trial-basis in early July.

Alibaba is to open a cashier-less supermarket in Hangzhou later this year, but the exact location is being kept under wraps.

A five-day trial operation was carried out last month.

Alibaba officials said its retail and technology team would upgrade and open a permanent store in Hangzhou later this year.

The Taobao unmanned store will be part of a bigger effort by the e-commerce giant's foray into the retail sector, and it will work on larger scale to handle more shoppers once it is open to the public.

Responding to public concerns that new retail format will render human workers obsolete, Tmall's head of cashier-less retail operation Ying Hong said that such shops would require new job posts like warehouse management staff and data analysts.

Taobao's unmanned supermarket and cafe works by asking users to log into Taobao or an Alipay account before entering the store.

By incorporating elements such as target tracking, sensor chips and machine-learning algorithms that remember each visitor’s whereabouts within the shop, the checkout process is automatically completed when shoppers enter the cashier area.

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