Last week we wrote about China’s coming wave of cashierless stores: pilot ventures like Alibaba’s Tao Cafe and Moby Mart by Swedish startup Wheelys that are pioneering automated, offline transactions. Another player to enter the fray is Bingobox, a startup from Zhongshan in southern China that is currently operating stores in Shanghai, and early last month closed out a Series A investment to the tune of US $14 million.
Bingobox is a convenience store that relies on human intervention to re-up its supply chain, but leaves the rest of the vending work to WeChat:
How well does it work? Our friends at TechNode gave a Shanghai Bingobox a whirl and concluded: not so well. They had problems scanning individual items and getting a receipt, and were able to sneak an untagged item out of the store, past Bingobox’s ostensible security settings. One thing they don’t explicitly list as a pain point is the constant barrage of annoying noise as people go in and out of the store, goods are scanned, and the robo-teller loudly confirms the identity of each item.
Seems like a bunch of problems that would be solved by… having a human on staff. But that’s not exactly a $14 million dollar idea.
Read TechNode’s full report here, and watch the future unfold awkwardly below: