Honestbee launches ‘tech-enabled multi-sensory’ supermarket in Singapore

Honestbee launches digital retail concept Habitat

Online marketplace business Honestbee has taken its online proposition and created a digital experience for shoppers in-store.

The 60,000sq foot space in Singapore houses a grocery and dining retail store, which hopes to show off the best of innovation in retail, including ‘autocheckouts’ and ‘RoboCollect’.

The move isn’t far off the experience that Alibaba is hoping to create via its Hema stores in China. While Honestbee is calling this endevour ‘NewGen Retail’, Alibaba and its subsidiaries such as Lazada have been pushing a ‘New Retail’ message.

To use the space, people have to enter a gate that opens via a QR code within the app. This activates the ability to pay using Honestbee’s mobile payments system. Once in the store, anything purchased can be scanned and added to the transaction, including its restaurant experiences.

According to Joel Sng, CEO and co-founder of Honestbee, the store was created to plug the gaps in the limitations of online shopping. While clothing and electricals require just sight, food often needs the help of touch, smell and taste to create the best shopping experience.

“It is a combination of the grocery business and food business. As an online marketplace we work with lots of retailers and we have created a physical representation of that. There is a general consensus that retail is dying, and that people are moving to e-commerce. It is growing rapidly, the business if ecommerce, and we enjoy the positive traction but the fact is, if you want to work in the food game, food and commerce is more than sight. With fashion or electronics, what realise is you can get an accurate representation of what that will be. In the food space, because of smell, touch and taste, you aren’t able to get the most accurate representation of that,” he explained at the launch of the store.

A core part of the Habitat experience will be about Honestbee taking its brand partners and retailers along for the ride, with the space also being used to educate on digital innovation.

In terms of the technology used, the most impressive aspects sit in the checkout. There is a ‘Scan & Go’ option, in which people use the app as they go and take the items on the spot. An ‘Autocheckout’ allows the shopper to leave the trolley, which then gets scanned and packed and sent to a pick-up station. The pick-up station is then actually manned by a series of robots, which deliver the bags to the shopper after scanning the app.

To make sure the supermarket is a destination, within the supermarket layout is a series of food and beverage stores, a beauty salon and a ‘Bodega’ which will sell fashion and craft items.

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