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A.S. Watson continues to digitally transform its business around the world. Its latest initiatives are to launch a Watsons Mini Store in China and Watsons Pay in Taiwan.
We have seen several retailers across Asia launch their own e-wallets recently, including AEON in Malaysia, and FamilyMart and Carrefour in Taiwan.
Earlier this year, AEON introduced its e-wallet app. Available to download on Google Play and Apple App store, AEON's e-wallet allows shoppers to pay and earn points at participating AEON stores (AEON Big Hypermarkets, AEON MaxValu Prime and AEON Wellness) seamlessly. Users can pay by scanning the QR code at the point of sale and earn points for credit when making purchases with the app.
Users just need to add their credit card to the e-wallet and will then be able to monitor their balance and transaction history real-time. The app has a biometric login feature and multi-factor authentication to help reassure users any concerns about security.
AEON Asia Sdn Bhd.'s Managing Director, Shinobu Washizawa, said, "We realise that there is an increase in the use of mobile payments, thus the AEON e-wallet will not only provide our customers with convenience, but also a safe and secure payment system [...]."
Last year, the retailer announced plans to invest JPY500bn (US$4.4bn) in online operations over the next three years. It posted a robust set of H1 results earlier this month.
The introduction of mobile payment services in Taiwan has been relatively slow despite high smartphone penetration. Many shoppers still prefer to purchase online and collect and pay in cash in-store. However, retailers are beginning to invest in more digital solutions, for example, FamilyMart (My FamiPay) and Carrefour (Carrefour Pay) have recently launched their own e-wallets in Taiwan. The latter allows users to add up to five credit cards in one app. Two of the most well-known epayment solutions in Asia are Alipay and WeChat pay.
Dianguo Technology has obtained a license from unstaffed retail brand BingoBox to launch BingoStore in Taiwan.
In recent months, Taipei has seen the introduction of several new concept stores in the convenience channel. The launch of BingoStore follows 7-Eleven (X-Store) and FamilyMart also launching unstaffed stores earlier this year.
The new unstaffed BingoStore was unveiled and open for three days at Huashan 1914, Zhongzheng district, Taipei. The first store will open in Datong University next month, and subsequently stationed at the MRT Songshan Station at the end of September.
To enter the store, customers need to scan a QR code to register. The store uses technologies such as image recognition, mobile payment and AI to offer seamless shopping experience. It also uses big data analytics to review the products placed in the store, providing insights on shopper preferences and habits in the area. BingoStore offers much more than a vending machine, and significantly reduces the time to shop compared to a supermarket.
Earlier this year, we visited Auchan Minute in Shanghai. Its original partner was BingoBox, but due to strategic differences the two companies separated and all stores in China were rebranded (from BingoBox) to Auchan Minute.
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7-Eleven has opened its second unstaffed convenience store in Taiwan.
After testing the first store of its kind six months ago, President Chain Store Corporation, operator of 7-Eleven in Taiwan has opened its second unstaffed X-Store in Taipei. The new store is located in Xinyi District, and utilises facial recognition or a iCash 2.0 card to recognise customers.
Like the first store, which opened at the company's headquarters in January, the new store targets tech-savvy shoppers, nearby workers and students in the area. The company said that the number of customers at the first X-Store increased 50 per cent over six months.
Convenience is largest modern food and grocery channel in Taiwan. As network expansion slows down due to market saturation, however, growth will be driven by innovation centred around shopping experience and convenience.
Last month, we highlighted some of the latest developments in the market. With the top four convenience chains (7-Eleven, FamilyMart, Hi-Life and OK mart) operating more than 10,000 stores between them, there is still vast potential for retailers to roll-out new concept stores, and therefore how the channel fulfils shopper missions can evolve even further.
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Emart plans to install electric car charging stations at all of its outlets in South Korea by 2021. In Taiwan, investment for battery charging stations in front of PX Mart and 7-Eleven stores has been annoucned.
Over the last three months, the retailer has launched several initiatives to improve shopping experience for customers, testing smart shopping trolleys, Pepper the robot and launching a new discount format.
The retailer is now building charging stations for electric cars on the premises of its hypermarkets. From October, it plans to open 30 stations every year up until 2021. This week, the service has been made available at nine new locations in four regions (Sokcho, Gangneung, Geomdan, and Gumi). This is in addition to to the 110 charging stations it currently operates. The stations can accommodate 18 cars at any given time and fully charge cars within 40 minutes at 100kwh.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs in Taiwan is planning to install 3,310 battery charging stations by 2022 via CPC Corp. to encourage greater use of electric vehicles. Stations will be set up near railway stations, parking areas, standalone locations, in front of PX Mart and 7-Eleven stores and elsewhere.
This investment will provide greater convenience to customers using electric vehicles, could help reduce air pollution and is part of a wider initiative to phase out fuel-powered motorcycles by 2035 in Taiwan.
This in-depth guide to Taiwan explores the key trends in grocery retail and the growth strategies of the leading retailers in the country.
We've developed a single, universal methodology for calculating food and consumer goods retail data, supported by our programme of primary and secondary research. This makes Datacentre the most reliable and robust source available for data of this type.