WATCH: Inside Shanghai's First Employee-Free Store
Ever had one of those days where you wake up so hungover and coffee deprived that you just don't want to deal with or speak to any human being? Sounds like you should check out BingoBox, Shanghai's first fully-automated convenience store.
Watch our video review here:
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BingoBox is Shanghai's first staff-less convenience store. First launched in Zhongshan, Guangdong province, the futuristic store has two Shanghai locations, both in the parking lots of Auchan Supermarket.
We were a little disappointed when we first arrived, it's not 24/7 like originally stated. The hours were 8am-10pm, the same hours as the supermarket. Maybe this will change eventually.
It's relatively simple to use after you've gotten set up, albeit the interface is still all in Chinese. You need to sign up with a Chinese mobile number before you can scan the QR code to open the door. Place anything you want to buy on the item scanner and it'll automatically ring it up for you. After you pay, just scan the QR code to get out again. If you encounter any problems, there's a handy button to call a nearby customer service rep.
We were pleasantly surprised by the range of products offered in this tiny shop. It had numerous imported goods not stocked by Shanghai's main convenience stores. It goes way beyond just drinks and snacks, and inclued toiletries, charging cables and pest repellent. The prices are decent too.
Having said all that, if one of these was next to an ordinary store, we'd probably choose the latter over having to keep scanning a QR code. We could see people using this to buy condoms (which was the only product with depleted stocks) where some might not want a human judging them for their purchase.