Smart retail warehousing technologies applied to innovate business and marketing models and enhance automated B2C retail experience
RV Automation Technology Company Limited (“RV”), HKSTP’s partner company, debuted its v-smart retail store powered by automated robotics technology, creating a new B2C retail experience.
Rio Chau, CEO of RV (third from the right), Albert Wong, CEO of HKSTP (third from the left) and RV’s business partners together commemorated the opening of RV’s first automated retail shop.
Visit the v-smart store at Shop 90, Concourse, Kowloon MTR Station
Hong Kong, 15 October 2019 – RV Automation Technology Company Limited (“RV”), a partner company of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (“HKSTP”), has opened its first smart retail shop, v-smart, in Hong Kong. Customers can select shopping items through an in-store kiosk or the v-smart website, make e-payment and pick up their purchased items instantly in a streamlined and fully automated process. This is made possible by deploying innovative smart robots for warehouse management and goods delivery from the back-of-house storage area to the front-desk. Integrating e-storage, e-keeper, e-sales and e-cashier technologies, the v-smart system is set to redefine retail management and deliver an automated shopping experience.
Buoyed by the success of its fully automated warehouse, RobEx Centre, at Science Park since 2018, RV has taken its smart warehouse system further and added robotics retail applications to operate the proof-of-concept store. The first robotic v-smart shop, at Kowloon MTR Station, features home furnishing goods from a world-renowned brand at the first stage.
Rio Chau, CEO of RV, said, “Our smart warehouse RobEx Centre has been catering for the needs of the Science Park and neighbouring communities, and receiving an enthusiastic response since its opening last year. We were inspired to develop the smart retail solution to address the manpower crunch in Hong Kong’s retail industry. At the same time, the robotics solution will free up frontline staff to be more customer service-oriented. The v-smart shop is empowered by the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data analytics to optimise retail sales strategies.
We are honoured to have a leading retail brand as the partner for our first v-smart shop. Together we have created a real setting for retail automation and testing the v-smart system. This marked an important step forward to enhance automated retail and shopping experience. RV anticipates setting up 100 fully automated stores with the v-smart system in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia in a few years. We believe that v-smart will redefine retail operations.”
Albert Wong, CEO of HKSTP, said, “HKSTP strives to foster the development of artificial intelligence and robotics technologies. The RobEx Centre at Science Park has proven effective to pilot and demonstrate RV’s smart warehousing technologies. It is encouraging to see RV extending the applications from the logistics industry to the retail sector. It shows that our homegrown innovations can be applied to different industries successfully. HKSTP will continue to explore opportunities for our Park companies and connect them with industry partners to facilitate collaboration and industry adoption.”
The v-smart shop provides 24x7 service and tracks inventories so that customers can collect purchased items immediately after placing orders. The shopping process is simple and quick – customers can make orders via the v-smart website or in-store kiosk, and then pay by Octopus or mobile payment. When a customer scans the designated QR code for a purchase, the robot in the warehouse will deliver the purchased goods to the collection counter. The click-and-collect process can be completed in less than a minute. Product samples and descriptions are displayed in the shop to let customers take a look at the physical products before purchasing.
Connected to IoT, v-smart can collect real-time sales and logistics data and present a full picture of customers’ consumption patterns and preferences. This enables retailers to make immediate changes to their inventory lineup to maximise sales. RV can also build tailored marketing campaigns such as social media promotions and special offers for the partners of v-smart. Partners can stock special offer items in v-smart shop for target customers to collect at their convenience.