Business Intelligence on Retailing, Franchising, and Consumerism in China

Sweden's Wheelys Starts Trial Operation Of Unmanned Convenience Store In Shanghai

Swedish start-up company Wheelys recently opened an unmanned convenience store which is controlled by app in Shanghai.

This prototype convenience store will run around-the-clock.

The Wheelys brand was established in 2014 and the company started by making and selling coffee on mobile coffee bikes. By the end of 2016, Wheelys had launched over 550 mobile coffee bikes in more than 60 countries around the world.

Now the company tries to apply its Wheely247 concept — running 24 hours, 7 days a week — to other things. In 2016, Wheelys tested its first unmanned store in a small town in Sweden and gained success. This new Shanghai convenience store will be the first time for the company to test its concept in a busy metropolis.

Customers need to first install an app on their smartphones to allow them to visit the store. After entering the store, they only need to scan the bar codes of the products they want to buy and pay with credit cards when leaving the store.

To prevent shoplifting, the store also installed security cameras. In addition, customers need to go through ID verification via the app when entering the store. Wheelys' Shanghai store is currently undergoing a beta test and people who want to enter the store need to first apply on the website of the company.

The ultimate goal of Wheelys is to authorize the technology to allow any retailers to integrate it into their existing stores.

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