At the NRF Big Show next week, Alibaba Group will be showcasing its supermarket chain, Hema, which is part of the company’s New Retail initiative and is described as the “future of retail.”

Hema, which also goes by the brand Freshippo, has more than 100 units in China “with each store providing a three-in-one experience that combines speedy fulfillment of online delivery, seamless in-store purchases, and interactive in-store consumption,” a spokeswomen said.

Consumers use a shopping app for in-store purchases. Items can be scanned, and detailed product information is revealed as well as comparable product recommendations. Payment are done via Alipay, and since the store app also serves as a membership program, personalization plays a key role.

“Established in early 2016, Hema integrates online and off-line shopping into one seamless experience for customers, allowing to shop with a few clicks on their phones,” the company noted in a statement. “With its in-store fulfillment system, orders can be delivered in as fast as 30 minutes to those who live within three kilometers of a Hema.The supermarket chain also has opened a ‘robot restaurant’ at one of its stores, in Shanghai, as part of its continued push to create new consumer experiences.”

At the NRF show, AI-driven robot waiters will be displayed as well as a conveyer belt system that is used for online fulfillment.

Additionally, Michael Evans, Alibaba group president and an honoree at this year’s NRF show, will be interviewed on stage by Ian McGarrigle, chairman of the World Retail Congress. The session’s title is “On Top of the World: Commanding Today’s International Retail Markets,” and takes place on Jan. 14 at 9:30 a.m. in the Qualtrics Theatre on Level 1.

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