(Yicai Global) April 24 -- Tmall, the business-to-consumer e-commerce platform under Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., opened China’s first unmanned bookstore on World Book and Copyright Day, offering a new shopping and reading experience while reducing labor costs.
The 94-square-meter Zhida Books is located on the Fudan University campus in the northern suburbs of Shanghai and has more than 6,000 books on offer covering 5,000 topics, including fiction and social sciences. The store has two sections with one quiet area reserved for intensive reading.
The digitalized bookstore serves customers by analyzing data of reading preferences and adjusting book displays accordingly. Readers can make mobile payments for books and see book reviews from online and offline sources.
Such new technologies at bookstores can help reduce operating pressure, given soaring labor costs. However, Zhida’s transformation into a fully staff-free zone is still ongoing since some store attendants attended the opening to help buyers to learn the new system. The bookshop will become truly staffless when clients seem to have attuned to its new operating model.
Editors: Emmi Laine, William Clegg