Step aside Amazon Go, here's how you move your online store into a brick-and-mortar space.
Honestbee's new Habitat concept store showcases what it could be like to run out for groceries in the future. Located in what appears to be a former warehouse in an industrial district, the 60,000-square-foot store is staffed by robots and humans. There are automated check-out points where you can make payments through the Honestbee app.
The online concierge service, which is known for food deliveries and laundry services, is also using the building as a fulfilment center.
Honestbee isn't the first online business to get into retail. Amazon and Alibaba are already experimenting in this area with their Go and Hema outlets. But despite malls in Singapore suffering from a retail slump due to the growing popularity of online merchants, the concierge service believes that there's still growth in physical stores. The company cites numbers from analysts indicating that 90 percent of retail sales are done in an actual store.
What sets it apart from similar retail concepts is that it also serves food like a cafe with over 15 types of food to choose from. You can pick up a wagyu steak from the butcher, or a fresh fish, and pay a bit more to get it cooked on the spot by chefs. There are no physical menus: Everything is ordered through the app.
If you just need to grab groceries, that's also easy. One you're done loading up your cart, head to the collection point, get the QR code on the app scanned and your cart will be sent to the sorting area, where Honestbee workers will tally up what you owe and bill it directly to you.
When you're ready to leave, you get your QR code scanned again, and a robot delivers it to your waiting hands.
Honestbee says it's currently looking for partners to bring the experience to the other eight Asian countries it has a presence in, which includes Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan.
Habitat opens to the public on Oct. 18, and if you're in Singapore, you should pop by to experience this new concept.
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