Suning unveils AR-powered shopping, smart retail experiences at CES 2019

China's largest omnichannel retailer will feature its Magic Runway and Biu Robot shopping assistant at CES 2019.

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Suning, China's largest omni-channel retailer, will showcase its latest innovations in smart retail at CES 2019 in Las Vegas next week, according to a press release, as retail stores increasingly use tech to compete with online outlets for customers.

The past five years have seen a retail revolution, with the rise of e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Alibaba completely changing how people shop. These online platforms have resulted in a downturn in the brick-and-mortar retail experience, closing down 9,000 physical stores in 2017, and approximately 12,000 stores in 2018.

SEE: Digital transformation in retail: How consumers are using tech to make shopping easier and more enjoyable (Tech Pro Research)

The threat of e-commerce and omnichannel stores has caused brick-and-mortar stores to integrate innovative tech within their physical establishments, in an effort to bring in more traffic. Such efforts can be seen in Sephora and Neiman Marcus, which both use artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) to transform the in-person shopping experience.

Suning is following suit with its Magic Runway and Biu Robot shopping assistant, according to the release. The Magic Runway is an AR-powered virtual shopping experience that allows customers in a store to try on different outfits using simple motion gestures, eliminating the need for fitting rooms. A smart stylist function being unveiled at CES is able to detect a customer's gender and age, and provide outfit recommendations, the release said.

Additionally, Suning created a heat map based on thermal analysis to study passenger traffic flow in stores, the release said. This technology will help store managers and operators learn about customer habits and preferences, resulting in more efficiency and merchandise management.

At CES 2019, Suning will also showcase its Biu AI shopping robot, which is essentially an intelligent vending machine. Using emotion recognition, the robot can move within a venue, carrying goods for people to look at and try. The robot uses weight-recognition to determine which products are picked up by customers, and customers are able to pay by simply scanning the robot's QR code.

"We look forward to welcoming visitors to our booth and showing them how we're using AI technologies to perceive consumer habits, predict consumption trends, guide manufacturing, and provide consumers with diversified and personalized products and services," said Jack Jing, COO of Suning Technology Group, in the release.

The last two developments released at CES will focus on smart home technology: Magic Mirror and the Biu Smart Speaker and PPTV Quantum dot TV, the release said. Both technologies use the Biu OS platform based in Internet of Things (IoT) and intelligent voice control functions.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Chinese omnichannel corporation Suning will feature its Magic Runway and Biu Robot shopping experience at CES 2019.
  • The technologies focus on smart retail and home innovation.

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Image: Suning