As the world’s biggest market for smartphone, it was inevitable that the retail industry in China fully capitalised on the tech dependent community as it embraces the cashless payment era. The technology inside WeChat’s new prototype unmanned store in Shanghai, ensures a consumer experience like no other and that includes no lines, no checkout counters, and most importantly no fuss.
Unlike any other store, you may only enter the premise through two glass doors at the entrance. Here is how it works, to enter all you need to have is a WeChat account to scan the QR code at the entrance, the glass door then pops open and you are in.
With the brief to build a store that symbolises ‘Home and Warmth’, Spacemen readapted the the most traditional silhouette of a house to create this inviting architectural identity. Only 7 days on site construction was permitted therefore a modular system for the metal structure and display racking system was developed to fulfil this tight time frame.
Within the 450sqm space 4 key lifestyle zones were defined starting with ‘1. Fashion’, ‘2. Dining’, ‘3. Living’, ‘4. Travel’ and ‘4. Communication’. The store is packed to the brim with shelves of food, racks of clothes, assortment of camping gear, and the quirky Zaozuo providing all the interior furniture and lighting fixtures. Each zone was designed like an elongated shopfront window with a depth of 15m thus giving the illusion as though customers were merely enjoying a casual stroll whilst window shopping.
Despite no cashier or checkout counter insight shoppers are able to leave the store with their goods in hand without having to stop and pullout cash or a credit card. Concealed scanners at the exit allows shoppers to enjoy this fully unmanned shopping experience without any hassle. Their WeChat Pay accounts will automatically notify the shoppers of the total amount and with a quick thumb print scan it gets deducted right away.
Designed by Edward Tan, Raymond Tang, Ed Chan / Spacemen
Photography by Simon Liu