• Shirina Mulani

Have You Seen This Cheers Store?

No queues. No checkout. Just walk out.

Most of us have encountered the hassle of a long queue of checkouts at the cashier, making this proposition rather enticing. That is the concept of this new Cheers store - because it is entirely unmanned. Located at Tampines hub, customers can simply walk in, grab the items they need and walk out without having to take out their phones, credit cards or cash to make payment.

Before entering, customers will need to download the Cheers SG App on their mobile phones, and key in their Visa account as a mode of payment. Without entering payment, customers are unable to enter. The app then automatically detects the items that customers pick up, and add them to the virtual shopping cart. When customers leave, payment is automatically charged to their card. The store’s ceiling is also dotted with cameras that track behaviour with AI to prevent any attempts of theft.

The concept of an unmanned store is not entirely new, in fact it made waves in China back in 2016, but failed to take off, resulting in several bankruptcies in the industry. However, COVID-19 has revived the failed concept for another shot at success.

This technology has several advantages. Firstly, it appeals to the need to minimise contact and interaction during the global pandemic. With the tracking technology, tedious processes such as inventory checking are suddenly made very seamless and easy to track. This helps businesses track exactly which products are popular, what and how much to restock, and which shelves attract the most attention in the store.

Artificial Intelligence has become part and parcel of living in today’s digital age, which makes it no surprise that it now permeates almost every aspect of our lives. The global pandemic is here to stay, some even calling it an endemic. With this drastic shift in how our world operates, there is good reason to believe we will start seeing more and more unmanned stores start to pop up around the globe. Could this be the future of retail in Singapore? It may be too soon to tell, but I don’t see why not.

If you’re curious, do pay a visit to the Cheers store down in Tampines Hub to experience it for yourself!

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