Lotus's hypermarket, in collaboration with True Digital, on Monday officially launched Lotus's Pick & Go by True Digital -- Thailand's first smart unmanned store -- at Lotus's North Ratchapruek community centre flagship store, reflecting their adoption of the latest technology to transform the retail industry.
Lotus's North Ratchapruek store is the first outlet to adopt this form of technology. Customers are required to have the TrueMoney Wallet application with a minimum balance of 200 baht in order to shop at the unmanned store.
Ekaraj Panjavinin, chief digital officer of True Corporation, True Digital's parent company, said customers can enjoy the new shopping experience by scanning the QR code on the TrueMoney Wallet and selecting their chosen items before exiting the store. The system will then automatically charge the customer for the products selected.
The concept of an unmanned shop is to fit with consumers' lifestyles and accommodate consumers in a rush who prefer to shop quickly and conveniently, with over 400 items available including beverages, snacks and everyday products.
Lotus's Pick & Go shop is situated in the smart zone at Lotus's North Ratchapruek store, in an area covering over 30 square metres.
Based on a demonstration, it takes only a few minutes from a customer entering to exiting the store by automatically paying via TrueMoney Wallet.
"The unmanned shop is preparing to allow other QR code payment systems to be used to purchase items by the end of this year," Mr Ekaraj said.
He added that True is utilising its capabilities as a telecom-tech company to transform the retail industry with the development of the smart artificial intelligence (AI) retail platform known as "True Virgo AI" which integrates leading digital technologies to transform the traditional retail store into a fully automated system.
The unmanned store will operate without collecting identifiable data from customers such as an image of their face, so customers can rest assured that their data privacy is fully protected.
The True Virgo AI platform connects a network of AI cameras where functions can be added to answer the needs of the new digital lifestyle.
Smart AI cameras can recognise and learn activities in the store to increase accuracy in activity insights.
The items in the shop have digital price tags where prices can be changed in real time.
A DataVisor, the integrated data management platform, can analyse and process data in real time as well as showing actionable data on a dashboard for store managers or retailers to utilise for more efficient store management.
Mr Ekaraj said the first unmanned shop is equipped with 38 digital cameras serving security and precise management of activity insights. The company has yet to target the exact number of customers visiting the shop daily but hopes to see between 50 to 100 customers daily within a few months.
True and Lotus's are jointly considering launching another unmanned shop through other Lotus's branches, while waiting to see customer response to the first unmanned shop, he added.
Monchai Intarapornudom, senior director for operations development of Lotus's, said Lotus's North Ratchapruek was developed as a smart community centre prototype that combines smart living products and services for all generations.
Mr Ekaraj added that True plans to extend its Virgo AI platform service to other retail businesses outside to help retailers handle challenges, ranging from complex operating systems to labour management.