SINGAPORE, 28 July 2017 – NTUC FairPrice (FairPrice) and Cheers today announced the launch of its first unmanned and cashless convenience store, located within the Nanyang Polytechnic campus. The concept store, which also serves as a training facility for Nanyang Polytechnic’s School of Business Management, employs front-line retail technologies to empower customers to self-serve and back-end systems to optimise business operations and boost productivity.
The launch event was graced by Guest-of-Honour, Mr S. Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry).
Mr Seah Kian Peng, CEO, NTUC FairPrice said, “NTUC FairPrice constantly innovates and implements new service concepts to enhance the shopping experience for customers’ convenience. This unmanned store concept aims to challenge industry norms by bringing about a step change in the retail industry through balancing efficient service delivery and operations capability via technology and at the same time, cultivate a self-service culture in Singapore.”
This initiative is in line with the Food Services and Retail Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) launched last year by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and SPRING Singapore. Both ITMs empower businesses to embrace technology and take steps towards transformation. The unmanned convenience store is an innovative solution that complements the brick-and-mortar business concept by creating value for both retailers and a new generation of consumers through productivity and convenience improvements.
Serving customers with technology
The unmanned Cheers store will feature a new unified self-checkout system that incorporates various cashless payment modes including NETS, credit card, EZ-Link, mobile and contactless payment – eliminating the need for multiple payment terminals to enhance user-friendliness, making it more intuitive for customers.
This unmanned Cheers store will also be the first convenience store in Singapore that offers NETS payment by QR code, a new form of payment that utilizes DBS Paylah, OCBC Pay Anyone and UOB Mighty.
Next-generation vending machines will provide customers, looking for a quick bite or a hot meal, with a variety of ready-to-eat foods ranging from pastries and pizza to local delights like fried rice and “hor fun”.
At the back-end, the store will gear up to utilise data and video analytics to customize the store’s inventory to suit customer preference by analysing purchasing behaviour within the store. An auto-ordering system also eliminates the need to manually track and order stocks while minimizing out-of-stock situations to enhance customer satisfaction.
Boosting productivity and redesigning jobs
Converting the Cheers store to an unmanned and cashless format will save up to 180 man hours per week. The boost in productivity stems from streamlining processes as there is no need for cashiers to be present to process payments and bag customer purchases. The automated point-of-sale self-checkout system also eliminates the need to manually perform cash reconciliation and physically bank in the day’s takings.
Beyond this, the back-end auto-ordering system eliminates the need to manually order products when stock levels are low, thereby boosting productivity and optimising the store’s inventory.
The savings in manpower will allow staff to be redeployed and up-skilled to focus on higher-value jobs such as supply chain management, customer relationship management, digital marketing and data analytics.
Training the next generation of retail professionals
The unmanned Cheers store doubles up as a training facility for NYP’s School of Business Management students specialising in retail, where they will be able to gain hands-on experience running a business and test innovative ideas in a real-world environment.
Ms Jeanne Liew, Principal & CEO, Nanyang Polytechnic, commented: “We are moving our students up the value chain. They are gaining new skills and working with new technologies, such as data analytics and IoT. I would like to thank our partners for this key opportunity.”
Ms Siong Liyi, a third-year Nanyang Polytechnic School of Business Management student, who works at the unmanned Cheers store, said: “I’m glad to have the opportunity to gain a head start and this format is where the future of retail business will be. I am learning skills that are ahead of the curve.”
The store is fully run by the students and over 50 are selected annually. They are deployed in several batches throughout the year to run the store.
Visit the Cheers unmanned store
To shop at the store, customers will first need to download and register themselves on a newly developed “Shop It Yourself” mobile app that will generate a unique QR code customers can use to gain entry to the store, which is locked automatically. The app is currently being tested by a sample group of NYP students and will be available at Apple and Android app stores by 4 August 2017. The unmanned Cheers store is located at Nanyang Polytechnic and opens from Monday to Friday from 7.30am to 7.30pm.
Cheers plans to pilot another unmanned convenience store in Tampines by end August this year.