SINGAPORE: A first-of-its-kind unmanned, cashless convenience store opened at the Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) campus on Friday (Jul 28).
The Cheers store allows customers to process their own purchases using one self-checkout system for cashless payments via NETS, credit cards, EZ-Link, mobile and contactless modes.
It will also allow NETS payments via quick response (QR) codes, a type of barcode read by devices, according to a press release issued by Cheers and its parent company NTUC FairPrice.
Vending machines will provide customers with a variety of ready-to-eat meals ranging from pastries and pizza to local dishes like fried rice and hor fun.
The store will also utilise data and video analytics to analyse purchasing behaviour and customise its inventory. An auto-ordering system eliminates the need to manually track and order stocks.
Another unmanned Cheers store is scheduled to open in Tampines by the end of August.
BOOST IN PRODUCTIVITY
With no cashiers to process payments and bag purchases, an unmanned store saves up to 180 man-hours a week, FairPrice and Cheers said. The automated self-checkout system also eliminates the need to manually perform cash reconciliation and physically bank in the day's takings.
"The savings in manpower will allow staff to be redeployed and up-skilled to focus on higher-value jobs," they said.
The unmanned store also doubles up as a training facility for NYP's School of Business management students specialising in retail to gain hands-on experience in running a business and test other innovative ideas.
The store is fully run by more than 50 students every year, who are deployed in several batches throughout the year to run the store.
Mr Seah Kian Peng, CEO of NTUC FairPrice, said the concept aims to challenge industry norms by bringing about a step change in the retail industry.
The companies said the initiative is in line with the Food Services and Retail Industry Transformation Maps launched in 2016 by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Spring Singapore.
ACCESS TO THE UNMANNED STORE
To shop at the store, customers will first need to download and register on the "Shop It Yourself" mobile app so that it will generate a unique QR code. This code is needed to gain entry into the store.
The app is currently being tested and will be available in early August.