Innovation

Watch: TechNode Tries Cashierless Bingobox, It Doesn’t Go Well

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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:

 

Josh Feola
Josh Feola is a Shanghai-based writer and musician, and RADII's Culture Editor. His coverage of Chinese music and art has appeared in The Wire, Dazed, Artsy, LEAP, Tiny Mix Tapes, and more. He's been active in China's underground music scene since 2010 via his booking platform pangbianr.com, and is a former member of Beijing bands Chui Wan, SUBS, and Vagus Nerve.

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