At the end of 2017, the news of Alibaba building their first ever offline shopping mall released, and now, it is finally unveiled! The name is called Qin Cheng Li 亲橙里(Qin is the nickname for all the customers on Taobao, Cheng means the colour Orange, which is the colour of Alibaba’s logo, Li is the name for traditional Southern Chinese neighbourhood streets, represent the origin of Alibaba, Hangzhou – a southern Chinese city in Zhejiang province).
This shopping mall is located inside of Ali Park (the headquarter of Alibaba) in Hangzhou. The original idea of building it was that Jack Ma did not want his employees to travel a long distance for shopping. So they built a big shopping mall for Ali’s employees. At the end of April, the shopping mall is officially open and it has exceeded everyone’s expectation and even imagination! Let’s go and see what the fuss is about!
The shopping mall is different from the typical malls in China. There are not many fashion apparels, luxury brands or International big names settled here. QinChengLi has a very consumer-friendly pricing level. It provides one-stop service for eating, drinking, shopping and entertaining, no wonder some people refer to describe the mall as the “Alibaba’s salary payback plan”.
In 2016, Jack Ma first publicly mentioned the concept of “new retail”, which was infinitely amplified. Human-free shelves, convenient stores…there are many interpretations but the details of this concept are still unclear. Today, Ali’s latest ‘new retail’ technology will all be demonstrated in QinChengLi. It could be seen as the textbook for all offline retailers in China or even the world!
*In China, the word 黑科技 ‘Black Tech’ is very popular, describing any advanced technology that wows people. So let’s have a look at the ‘BLACK TECH’s in QinChengLi.
Black Tech No. 1 – “Magic Fitting Room”
Do you find it tiring to keep running in and out of the fitting room and stores just to try on a few outfits? And is it even a more scrutinizing experience for guys to waiting for your other half doing that? Now, this can be all saved by “Magic Fitting Room”. With one turn, you can instantly change to a different outfit, and choose your favourite one in a mere few seconds. Now that’s the EFFICIENCY I’m talking about!
This is what the clothes shop looks like!
Black Tech No. 2 – Facial/Voice Recognition Payment
If you’re still wowed by using your face to unlock your phone, you’re out. Apart from the mainstream contactless card, smartphone QR code scan as payment methods in the mall, facial and voice recognition technology is also introduced in QinChengLi. Now you can really go out shopping with ZERO burdens! But, be mindful of your identical twin!
Black Tech No. 3 – AR shop guide
Have you ever get lost in a huge shopping mall? There are hundreds of shops and even with a map you still find it hard to navigate sometimes, that’s not an issue any more with Augmented Reality shop guide. In QinChengLi, when you select the route from the help screen, it will present a QR code which can be scanned by your smartphone, and the route will load onto your phone to guide you through. Much better than a paper map or a customer service who you can never find?
Black Tech No. 4 – 1000 people and 1000 faces
This is probably the most powerful technology for all marketers. This tool can make a judgement on what products to recommend by detecting characteristics of different consumer groups through its video system. It also records the user’s spending habits for more accurate targeted marketing. Consumers can stand in front of the screen and the corresponding advertisement pages are displayed in front of them, hopefully, it would be exactly the things they want to buy. This allows more precise marketing to different demographic groups and could be the ultimate secret weapon for any business.
The various businesses which settled in QingChengLi can benefit with all these black technologies plus Alibaba’s big data, to achieve cloud shelving (zero physical stock), data transfer from online to offline, to provide a dreamlike ‘new retail’ shopping experience for consumers.
You get into the mall, let your AR guide take you to the shop you want, pick up a product and the price and information are displayed on the screen, then you use your face to pay for it, and an hour later, the product is delivered to your door. This is NOT your DREAM, this is REALITY!
Jack Ma has impressed us again and Alibaba’s force to revolutionise the retail industry in China (or even the world) is unstoppable.