Event Marks First Use of AI-powered Robots to Deliver Goods
NANJING, China, Nov. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Suning Commerce Group, a Fortune Global 500 company owned by Suning Holdings Group ("Suning" or "the Group"), a commercial bellwether in China, set a new sales record during the country's largest annual shopping spree, the "11/11 Shopping Festival" ("Singles Day" or "the Festival"), achieving 163% growth across its Omni-channels.
Suning's own "O2O (Online-to-offline) Shopping Festival", which lasted 11 days from November 1 to November 11, saw the most significant spike in sales, thanks to the Group's recently rolled-out "Smart Retail" strategy. Online retail sales set a record with year-on-year growth of 227%, while offline sales achieved 168% growth, with both channels serving 1.96 million customers in total.
"We're very pleased with the sales result," said Zhang Jindong, Chairman of Suning Holdings Group. "It's a landmark achievement as we continue to develop our 'Smart Retail' model, which merges the online and offline shopping experience. Our success during the Festival is also a validation of our recent innovations in the retail sector, such as our unmanned stores, logistic robot 'Biu' and AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle) warehouses."
As Suning has implemented its Smart Retail strategy, the company has also rolled out more innovative products and solutions to accommodate the large volume of orders during the Festival, which helped to drive sales themselves. Highlights include:
- Automated logistics solutions -- Equipped with 200 robots that are able to move around the stocking shelves, Suning's Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) warehouse in Shanghai helps make fulfillment more efficient by providing a "goods-to-people" solution instead of the traditional "people-to-goods" model. The time spent selecting an item has been shortened to 10 seconds - five times more efficient than manual work.
- "Biu" delivery robots -- Suning deployed its first AI-powered delivery robot, "Biu", in Nanjing on Singles' Day to deliver items from a neighborhood Suning convenient store to a consumer's home, a process that took only three minutes.
- Electronics and home appliances -- High-end home electronics and appliances performed well. Suning recorded the most iPhone sales of any vendor on Singles Day. Also, in the home appliances category, Suning saw the obvious consumption upgrading in the industry. Sales of large-volume roller washing machines took up 75% of laundry machine sales, while sales of air purifiers increased 300%.
- Opened four new unmanned stores -- Suning opened four more "Suning Biu" cashier-less stores across the country to innovate the offline shopping and meet customers' demand for more unique shopping experiences.
"Providing a great user experience is what Suning cares about most," said Zhang. "Robust logistics capabilities and cutting-edge IT is required to accommodate the incredible volume of orders. It's our goal to ensure consumers a frictionless shopping experience. Also, we're leading the industry as rolling out more AGV warehouses, Suning unmanned stores and delivery robots as part of our 'Smart Retail' plan."
About Suning Holdings Group
Founded in 1990, Suning is one of the leading commercial enterprises in China with 180,000 employees and two listed companies in China and Japan. Through decades of growth and transformation, Suning has established a business presence in six industries. In 2017, Suning was ranked second on the list of China's top 500 non-state owned enterprises, and for the first time in corporate history, Suning Commerce, under Suning Holdings Group, was named to the 2017 list of the Fortune Global 500.
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