Singapore pop-up store allows customers to buy mobiles in ‘truly unmanned’ environment

woman at video screen
FAST RETAIL: Customers can use facial recognition to log in at the video kiosk to get personalised product recommendations as well as buy mobiles and accessories

Asian communications group Singtel has opened a cashless, unmanned pop-up store that uses face recognition and personalization to let customers select, purchase and leave with high-value goods including new phones and accessories.

Unboxed, Singapore’s “first truly unmanned pop-up store”, has been put together in partnership with ecommerce logistics company SingPost, and enables customers to use their existing mobiles to buy new phones and accessories via face recognition-enabled self-service kiosks that also provide them with personalised recommendations based on their profile and preferences.

Customers are able to register to use the face recognition system when they sign up for a mobile plan or renew their contract. When they visit Unboxed, they can then log in to their account either through the face recognition system or by scanning their ID at a kiosk.

This then enables the customer to be welcomed by name and provided with a personalized experience, including customised product recommendations.

To pay for an item at the video-assisted kiosk, the customer scans a QR code on the screen using their existing mobile phone.

They collect their purchases immediately from secure PopStation lockers in store which automatically unlock after payment has been made. The lockers are prefilled with devices and replenished daily.

Customers can also consult with a roving live bot which, like the kiosks, uses face recognition technology.

To prevent theft and vandalism the pop-up store is protected 24/7 by NCS’s Sentinel remote surveillance system, which uses a network of 13 sensors and 15 cameras.

Currently based in Singapore’s central business district, the 45 sq metre store — which can be reconfigured to fit different shaped spaces — will be moved to a new home every few months, including high-footfall locations such as transport hubs and school campuses.

Unboxed builds on Singtel’s existing Comcentre store format, which features instant purchases via automated checkouts, integrated online and instore shopping carts and an intelligent Wi-Fi queuing system.

“Unboxed fulfils the needs of today’s consumer and provides a peek into the next-generation of retail: fast, instant, convenient and experiential,” said Singtel CEO of consumer Singapore Yuen Kuan Moon.

A short video shows Unboxed in action: