LKK explore further into the unmanned retailing industry

The launch of Tmall’s first unstaffedsupermarket has inspired much innovative imagination in the retailing industrywhich is expected by many to be free from manpower. As a matter of fact,after Jack Ma proposed the new concept of retailing at last year’s Yunqimeeting, the unmanned vending machine has quietly emerged as a new hit.  All of the emerging phenomenon show that theindustry is pressing forward to unmanned operation. The exhibition of X SpeciesDesign held by LKK Design at the Beijing Design Week presented various projectsof LKK UED. The exhibition also used a high-tech retailing industry lab to showthe visitors the methodology of new-type unstaffed supermarket and automaticvending machine. This helped the audience to form a systematic perception ofhow to improve user experience and service design in the new retailing scenes.


What are the experiences of unstaffedshopping like?

Self-checkout, which is not rare in foreigncountries, is often discussed in supermarket scenario. But in China, the keypoint is how to give every customer the respect that they deserve. The bestadvantage of self-checkout is that the customers do not need to wait by line topay. The long queues in busy shopping hours are really disturbing. However, byadding self-checkout function into the APP, you can scan the QR codes on theproducts to pay online and check the payment information with the staff whenyou leave the supermarket. If you lead an idle life style, you can place ordersonline. The supermarkets can provide delivering service to customers who livewithin three kilometers of the supermarkets. As the delivering time will notsurpass 2 hours, the groceries will be fresh. To guarantee product quality isone of the most essential links of new-type retailing, especially at theterminal points of unstaffed shopping.


The new life style is taking shape

For new-type retailing, what is importantis not “manned”or “unmanned”, but is how to make supermarkets blend into thedaily lives of customers in a community. The freshness of products anddelivering service have become the standard configurations of e-commerce andthe breakthrough has to be made in the aspect of user experience, which is toprovide more service of high quality and to let the service infuse into everyparts of life. The ultimate goal is to bright a brand-new life style tocustomers.

It is very important to set up newexperience modes and service systems in order to change customers’previous lifestyles. When customers see fresh food materials in an offline store, they can getthe basic information of the products through the digital price tags and alsocan scan the codes by APP to know the production places. This is an example of multiplesolutions to meet the needs of customers, which can provide comprehensiveservice to customers.

During the process of the new life style’staking shape, the offline stores are no longer the place for buying products.They will become a venue for customers to spend times. The family can spendweekends in offline stores and have entertainment activities like shopping,eating and playing games. They can also have social activities. Thesupermarkets will provide professional and high-level courses and cookingevents. All of these are becoming reality gradually in the new supermarketsdesigned by LKK UED. It is reported that the new market will be open in Beijingin this November.



All the separate parts are key links


According to LKK UED, in the cases handledby the team so far, what the clients need is not only good user experiences,but also industrial designs, brand establishments, package designs and soon.  But at the same time, those requirementsgive designers more space to create and there is not much limitation forinnovation. What’s more, those separate requirements are all key points thatcan influence the service experiences.

Another issue discussed by LKK UED withclients is how to provide a popular and considerate vending machine robot byapplying new technology and big data. To solve the problem, designers dividedusers’ purchasing process into three steps, which are discovering, purchasingand sustaining and found key points respectively. For example, if you havedifficulties to choose, the robot can recommend products for you by referringto your friends’ data and can also recommend a product by analyzing your luckycolor, signs. The robot can make use of the time of users’ waiting to changethe ineffective time into effective time.

One LKK designer said: “The essence ofnew-type retailing is to design time. The key point is to keep the interaction betweencustomers and products while reducing the efforts customers have to pay out inthe purchasing activities. This means that we increase efficiency in the stepof purchasing, but this does not reduce the time of interaction betweencustomers and products. The design has to let the interaction happen more creatively.”

The unmanned retailing is still in exploratory stage. The designs for thisnew-type retailing that can survive the test of time have to be the ones thatcan quickly occupy the market and gain popularity or the ones that achievebreakthroughs in terms of product modalities and patterns. However, the finalwinner will be companies that can integrate industrial chain sources andupgrade the business modes. LKK UED will explore further in this direction.

The X Species Design Exhibition whichkicked off on September 21 will continue to be on show till October 6. Visitorsare welcomed to have more penetrating experience of the unmanned retailing inthe central exhibition hall on the first floor of China Millennium Monument.


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