What will the future of cafés or convenience stores look like? China’s e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba gave us some idea when it exhibited a partially automated café during its second Taobao Maker Festival held from July 8 to 12 in Hangzhou.
Here is how Alibaba’s Taocafe looks like:
As compared to Amazon’s partially automated grocery store Amazon Go, the checkout process of Taocafe appears to be a little bit awkward and somewhat scary. It is more like a security scanner in some airports. In contrast, Amazon Go’s consumers can simply check out by walking through the automated gates just as how they came in.
Besides Taocafe, the Taobao Maker Festival features 108 physical stores whose owners are all young people running original online shops on Taobao. Alibaba hopes to encourage creativity and entrepreneurship of the younger generation by holding this festival.
Here are some selected stores from the festival: