Hong Kong-based startup ShopME has launched a robotic shop at the T.O.P This is Our Place mall in Mong Kok, offering a futuristic, interactive shopping experience for customers.
Navigating the robotic shop is similar to operating a vending machine with some enhanced features. It boasts a big-screen product display which can showcase products ranging in size from a lipstick to a tablet. What’s more, a patented robotic arm – with a design based on vacuum tube technology – helps by picking up selected items in the machine and carefully bringing them to a collection point.
Such a design enables brands to offer fragile premium products such as cosmetics, jewellery and electronic devices. The machine has already been deployed to over 18 countries for international retail brands, such as L’Oréal, Shiseido, Sony, Line Friends, and Armani.
“Hong Kong has been developed into an international well-established brick and mortar retail market over the last 30 years. However, it also gives a challenge for successful retailers in the transformation in digital front,” said Joseph Yuen, founder and CEO of ShopME, who is also the chairman of Hong Kong Federation of E-Commerce.
“The introduction of ShopME not only gives an alternative for retailers to operate at a lower cost in one of the cities boasting highest rent and salaries without sacrificing a premium location but by integrating all digital payments, merchants can enjoy the seamless integration from physical stores to e-commerce,” he added.
Customers can also use the Facebook app to scan the QR code of each product in the machine, allowing later purchases of the scanned products through ShoeME’s online store, with the items being delivered to their homes when convenient. And in addition to physical products, the machine also offers shopping point gift redemptions, interactive games, and other online shopping capabilities.
“Being a small-and-medium Enterprise, the fast-changing product trends make us difficult to meet the demand from shoppers and maintain a profitable retail outlet. We are glad to see the introduction of ShopME, providing a lower retail cost and flexible mix of products in our wide selections,” said Carol Poon, manager of Reinforce DigiLife.
ShopME is currently aiming to hit a target of establishing 100 machines in Hong Kong and Macau’s first-tier shopping malls, premium residential areas, and major transportation exchange. As for overseas expansion, the company is aiming to step into Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore, Thailand, and Taiwan.