The supermarket of the future is already here. It’s not located in San Francisco or Tokyo but in Pasir Panjang, Singapore. That’s the home of the Habitat by Honestbee. The first of it’s kind in Singapore, the grocery store has no cashiers as everything is done via its smartphone app. If that wasn’t enough, robots will even scan and bag your groceries for you.
Habitat by Honestbee Cashierless Grocery Store
The process is pretty simple. Like a normal supermarket, customers go through the aisles picking out what items they want. Once finished, they drop off the cart at the RoboCollect Station. Robots then scan and place the items into recyclable bags. When ready, customers go to the collection point, scan a unique QR code, and a robot hands them their bags.
The process can take as little as 5 minutes and according to Honestbee, the robots can handle about 300 orders per hour. For customers that have less than 10 items, they can just scan each item with the smartphone app and be on their way.
More Than Just a Supermarket
Habitat isn’t a small novelty grocery store. The 60,000 square foot supermarket boasts over 20,000 items. You’ll find the country’s largest variety of truffle products, a wide selection of aged meats, over 10 types of oysters and everything else in between. If you get bored with grocery shopping they have a hydroponics lab, a florist and even a place to sit and read. In case you want a meal right away, the Habitat has 15 food stands.
Honestbee was founded in 2015 as a grocery delivery service but later added laundry and meal deliveries to the mix. According to the company, the decision to open up a brick and mortar location was made because they realized most people still prefer to buy groceries in person.
Habitat by Honestbee vice-president and managing director Pauline Png said “Online retail is less than 10 percent of global retail sales. We figured since we have the logistics capabilities and other expertise, we wanted to provide a new experience to our customers.”
Grocery Stores Completely Staffed by Robots
Grocery chains have been experimenting with going cashierless for a few years now. Amazon recently announced plans to open up their own cashierless grocery stores called Amazon Go across the US. While impressive they are about the size of a small apartment and offer a limited amount of items. Nobody has implemented the tech in a store the size of Habitat. With robots also bagging and scanning items, they’ve also completely eliminated the human element from the process.
Of course, this raises some concerns. How soon until robots are also stocking shelves, cleaning up aisles and providing security? That tech is already here or at least well on its way. Theoretically, a supermarket that once employed hundreds of people could function with just one or two. While this makes a better experience for customers, what does it mean for grocery store workers?
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