Can unmanned convenience stores take-off in Indonesia? JD.com thinks so

By Lester Wan contact

- Last updated on GMT

JD.ID X-Mart's 270-square-metre store is the largest store to leverage JD’s unmanned store technology.
JD.ID X-Mart's 270-square-metre store is the largest store to leverage JD’s unmanned store technology.

Related tags: JD.com, China, Indonesia, Technology, unmanned, Convenience stores, New Retail

JD.com has launched its first overseas unmanned convenience store in Indonesia — the JD.ID X-Mart — with a strong snacks and drink offering alongside fashion and beauty items.

The newly-opened store in PIK Avenue shopping mall, Jakarta is the first of its kind in Indonesia. The 270m2​ state-of-the-art retail space is also the largest store to leverage JD’s unmanned store technology.

The JD.ID X-Mart in Jakarta offers an expanded product selection, including fashion and apparel, and beauty and FMCG products. A JD spokesman told FoodNavigator-Asia​ that the main food items currently sold in the store are snacks and drinks.

“The store is currently supported by JD.ID’s logistics network, and the brands and products available in the store are those that are also available on JD.ID,” ​added the spokesman.

“We have a local team that understands local tastes and has selected products that they think will appeal to the consumer base in Indonesia.”

Whether for the store or online, JD.com said, as China’s largest retailer, the company would continue to expand its food offerings in Indonesia, and would constantly add new domestic and international products from all over the world.

“We partner with the world’s top producers to be able to offer a vast selection of products to our consumers,” ​said the spokesman.

Seamless shopping

The technology in the JD.ID X-Mart store enables you to “walk through the store, grab what you need and walk out”​.

The shopper first needs to open the JD.ID phone app, go to ‘My Account’, and tap on ‘JD.ID X’. The app will then generate a QR code.

At the entrance, the shopper places the phone screen with the QR code on the detection machine, then looks at the camera. Once the ID and the facial profile is confirmed through facial recognition technology, the shopper can enter to shop.

In the store, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags are attached to the products.

The checkout terminal will, similarly, identify the shopper through facial recognition, add up the total of the purchases, and charge it to the credit card. The transaction details will also be sent to the shopper’s smartphone.

JD.com said this new AI-powered experience store offers an unprecedented level of convenience for customers in the country, without being slowed down by queues or checkout counters.

JD’s growing strategy

“The opening of the (JD.ID X-Mart) stores are part of JD’s broader Retail as a Service strategy where we are focused on developing our technology and capabilities and leveraging them to empower partners,” ​said the spokesman.

“We are open to stores in other countries, and will evaluate them on a case by case basis as appropriate.”

The launch of the JD.ID X-Mart is further part of JD’s boundary-less retail strategy, where consumers in Indonesia can get products online through JD.ID or offline through the JD.ID X-Mart store.

The company said, in the last year, it has made a significant push in developing offline store technology as part of its boundary-less retail vision — the idea that consumers should be able to buy whatever they want, wherever and whenever they want it — be it online or offline.

The JD.ID online shopping platform was launched in Indonesia in March 2016. The e-commerce platform in Indonesia is now selling more than 350,000 SKUs and serving 20 million consumers nationwide.

It is supported by nine warehouses across seven islands of the Indonesian archipelago, covering 483 cities and 6,500 counties. With the plan to build more warehouses, JD is expecting to hit 85% of orders to be delivered on the same day or the next day.

Pioneering China

JD launched its first unmanned store in its headquarters in Beijing, China in October 2017.

It now operates over 20 unmanned stores across China, including in Jinan, Xi’an, Changchun and Dalian.

During its June 18, 2018 anniversary sales period, the transaction volume for JD’s unmanned stores increased nearly 600% compared to the daily average.

The spokesman added JD is on the lookout for new locations across Indonesia.

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