Vendors are increasingly accompanying online commerce with offline retail
What if we wanted to see and touch the products before comparing them? In recent years the trend of e-commerce is that of physical stores. In fact, the respective e-commerce leaders in the United States and China, Amazon and Alibaba, are investing more strategically in the expansion of offline retail. Indeed, consumer demand has pushed these retailers to overcome their e-commerce excellence by opening physical stores.
Offline consumers from Amazon and Alibaba can increasingly make acquisitions in their Amazon Go convenience stores and Hema smart food stores. There are 14 Amazon Go stores in the United States, while there are around 120 Alibaba Hema stores located throughout China.
Amazon’s walk-out technology against Alibaba’s mobile payment technology
But they are not just offline stores. Both retailers, in fact, use online customer data and technology to customize product selections for certain demographic data in certain regions. This approach ensures that average sales per customer and sales per square foot are higher than those of traditional stores. However, the two retailers offer very different shopping experiences.
Amazon Go stores simplify customer transactions by requiring them to download the Amazon Go mobile app in advance and browse the QR code on it when they enter the store. Then, as customers pick up items from the shelf, the sensors detect the removed item and use heat mapping technology to detect when the customer has left the store. When the customer leaves the store, the items are automatically extracted and the expense is credited to the pre-registered credit card.
On the other hand, Alibaba’s Hema smart food stores operate on a slightly different model, meeting Chinese preferences for mobile payment technology. Therefore, at every consumer preference and culture, its technology. Chinese customers pay at self-checkout desks where they can use a traditional POS system to check items one by one. They can use the Hema app, the Alipay mobile payment apps or even the cash to pay for their orders. In addition, Hema allows customers to use facial recognition technology to pay for their assets, as long as their face is pre-registered on their Alipay apps.
Many solutions proposed by the various competitors
So the shopping experience is slightly different, largely because the way American and Chinese consumers pay for their products is different. For Amazon Go, the experience seems to be a little more seamless and encourages the customer to buy more items, since he is not aware of how big the expense is.
However, there are still elements that hold back the expansion of these offline stores. In fact, starting for the first time can be complicated because the customer must first download the Amazon Go app and connect it to his Amazon account before he or she enters the store. This process could make it difficult to solicit less tech-savvy customers.
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