Chinese online giant JD.com wants to create a store chain without cash registers in China. This will co-exist alongside its high-tech 7Fresh supermarket chain, which opened its doors late last year.
The new chain, simply called X, should reach at least 500 stores across China this year alone. The first supermarkets, about 80 sqm and with around 500 products, opened their doors late last year.
Customers have to register online beforehand, because access is granted through facial recognition and payments are also fully automated. The store’s employees are only tasked with keeping the shelves filled with products.
The company also opened the first high-tech 7Fresh supermarket store late last year. That store was 4,000 sqm, a lot larger than its new chain. JD.com aims to open 1,000 7Fresh stores in the next three to five years. Both chains use big data to make sure that the product range meets consumer demand.
JD.com is able to open new stores in China at a rapid rate, because it already has an extensive logistical network (13 distribution centers and another 500 warehouses). It previously only used this network for e-commerce, but this now also contributes tremendously to its rapidly-expanding physical store network.