SINGAPORE, 12 December 2020 – Cheers, a subsidiary of NTUC FairPrice, in partnership with Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, today announced the launch of its revamped unmanned and cashless convenience store, located conveniently in the heartlands of Tampines. The concept store employs Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and image recognition technology to empower customers to self-serve and boost operational efficiency and productivity.
The launch event was graced by Guest-of-Honour, Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Health and Grassroots Adviser for Tampines GRC GROs.
Mr Seah Kian Peng, Group CEO of FairPrice Group, said, “NTUC FairPrice continues to embrace innovation and develop new service concepts to enhance the shopping experience for customers. We complement the efforts at promoting a self-service culture in Singapore through our unmanned store concepts along other initiatives that facilitate efficient service delivery. By collaborating with our strategic partner Visa, we are able to leverage on our respective strengths and experience to further propel the retail industry forward.”
Customers who patronise the new store only need to pick out the items they wish to purchase and walk out of the store. The advanced A.I. system is smart enough to detect the items they have picked out and will automatically process payment for the items when they exit the premises. This saves customers the hassle from having to queue to make payment and resources required to man the store. The unmanned Cheers store is expected to save up to 240 man hours per week.
Going cashless as a nation
The global pandemic has prompted a surge in cashless payments as consumers turn towards eCommerce or try to avoid handling cash due to hygiene concerns. The latest Visa COVID-19 Sensor found that two-thirds (66 per cent) of consumers in Singapore prefer paying with cashless payment methods (cards, mobile devices, wearables), and nearly four in five are likely to continue using digital payments even after the pandemic (78 per cent).
The Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study found that more than two-thirds (67 per cent) of consumers in Singapore are interested in “zero checkout” technology or eliminating the physical checkout process to enhance their shopping experience. The ‘time saving’ aspect of not having to stand in line to make payment is largely driving the high interest in zero checkout experiences, with three in five (60 per cent) citing this as their key motivation.
“Today, consumers want shopping experiences that are fast and seamless but also safe and secure. Zero checkout technology is an innovative way of delivering that intuitive retail experience to shoppers, offering convenience without sacrificing security,” Kunal Chatterjee, Visa Country Manager for Singapore and Brunei, said. “This is the first time that Visa is partnering with our retail merchant partner to create this concept of kind in Southeast Asia, and we want to help our merchants power the future of retail and create innovative retail experiences so that consumers and businesses can pay and be paid effortlessly,” he added.
This unmanned store concept is also aligned with Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative, which aims to transform and digitise our economy to keep Singapore vibrant and competitive by utilising technology to make lives better.
Cheers introduced its first unmanned and cashless store concept at Nanyang Polytechnic in 2017 followed by an additional two more unmanned stores at the National University of Singapore. The store today will be its fourth operational unmanned store.
Visit the Cheers unmanned store
To shop at the store, customers will need to download the mobile app that generates a unique QR code customers can use to gain entry to the store, or via facial recognition technology. Products picked up by customers will be automatically added to their virtual shopping cart, and they can skip the queue as they will be charged to the payment method that they have added in their app.
The unmanned Cheers store is located at Our Tampines Hub (1 Tampines Walk #01-01 Singapore 528523) and operates 24 hours daily.