China has already reached the future of retail.

Smart stores without salespeople, smart shelves for products, only self-checkout, smartphones and technology. All this is already operational in the best retail networks of China.

Visiting companies in China for all participants of our tour was associated with the word "space".  This is really another reality - innovations on the verge of science fiction: electronic checks, smart shelves, face and voice recognition, use of the Big Data system, AliPay and WeChat payment systems, high-precision optical sensors that can recognize the attempt to carry out unpaid goods.

This is what Alesia Glushchuk, Fast Forward managing partner, says about the main retail trends in China:

  • Smart stores without sellers, smart shelves for products, face and voice recognition.
  • Multichannel.  Large e-commerce platforms open offline stores.  What for?  To capture a large market share, those who like to see the product before buying.
  • Cashless.  Only self-checkout.  If you have WeChat or AliPay - you can do anything.
Members of the group
Day 1

Bingo Box is a network of mobile shops with integrated payment systems AliPay and WeChat. The project authors use new technologies not only in the payment system, but also in that of control. The point of sale is equipped with high-precision optical sensors capable of detecting an attempt to carry unpaid goods out of the Bingo Box.


First you need to scan your QR code at your door with your smartphone and choose what you need. After that, you no longer need to have your smartphone ready. After you exit the store, an invoice will be automatically sent to your smartphone. In the cafe, in addition to drinks, you can buy snacks and other food. Experts believe that the store without sellers is one of the promising trends in the development of Artificial Intelligence. Many Chinese and foreign enterprises are showing an increased interest in opening a store without cashiers. Now there are 500 storesand their goal is 100 thousand stores within 3 years and 1 million stores within 10 years.

Here is such a Vingo Box

By itself, the rejection of stationary point-of-sale terminals can no longer be called absolutely innovative. For example, the Apple Store, the British Sainsbury's network, the American Stop & Shop, and many others have been actively using mobile cash registers for more than a year. And the fact that they call a revolution in offline retail now is, rather, creating a whole range of conditions for the maximum simplification of the shopping process.

Все с помощью телефона!

7 fresh

7Fresh is a bright representative of multi-channel. online platform has opened 3 good offline stores. JD is included in the ranking of companies with the largest revenue of the Fortune Global 500 (as of 2017, it takes 261stplace). Revenue for the last year amounted to $ 60 billion. The new 7Fresh store in Beijing offers such functions to its customers as screens displaying information about products and trolley robots that follow customers, identifiers of faces and so on.


In addition to building non-staff stores, JD takes great care in delivering goods. So, in 2017, the company began to test the delivery of goods using unmanned aerial vehicles that can withstand a load of more than 1 ton. The JD “HeavyweightQuad copters” will be the largest civilian drones used. Now drones that carry 10 kgare used. A new mode of transportation has become especially popular with farmers who use drones to quickly deliver perishable products.

In the store 7Fresh
A little more about 7Fresh, Jingdong Mall is a Chinese internet trading and e-commerce company based in Beijing. It is one of the largest merchants in the Chinese Internet in terms of B2C volume transactions. The company was founded by Liu Qiangdong (Richard Liu) in July 1998, and the online store opened in 2004. Initially, it sold magnetic and optical media, then expanded the range, selling electronics, cell phones, computers, and so on. Since June 2007, Jingdong Mall has used the site and since 2013 it has been using also invests heavily in the scientific development of new technologies: last yearthey began the construction of logistics and robotics research center in Xi'an (China)on a 30-acre spot which will include the headquarters of JD Logistics, a cloud computing center and a manufacturing plant for unmanned aerial vehicles.

In the future, delivery technologies by drones may go beyond e-commerce and be used as part of the economic program of the New Silk Road.

JD is testing unmanned trucks. At the end of 2017 JD unveiled their new invention: an unmanned (or autonomous) truck that can identify motion signals and sense obstacles from a distance of more than 100 meters (the cars are much smaller and lighter than those Tesla is testing).

The autonomous EV80 light truck, developed by in cooperation with SAIC Maxus, is equipped with radars, high-precision sensors, mapping and a positioning system that can detect obstacles from a distance of 150 meters and change the route.

The front camera mounted on the truck can analyze road conditions and find traffic lights, which helps the truck to implement a number of other unmanned functions, such as changing lanes, parking identification and automatic parking.

This is the first autonomous vehicle launched for delivery. The company began trial testing of a new unmanned truck in the areas designated by the traffic police. At the time of testing the driver sits inside the vehicle to ensure the safety of the truck.

The main difference between the company Liu Qiang-dong from the online giant Ma Yun - JD is a direct relationship with suppliers, unlike Alibaba, which basically acts as a platform for other merchants.


And about global things: cooperation between the leaders of American and Chinese retail began in the summer of 2016, when Walmart announced that it was selling Yihaodian.

The basis of cooperation between Walmart and is the JD-Home platform, launched in 2015 during the merger of Jingdong Mall with the delivery of Dada Nexus products. JD-Home specializes in the delivery of food from supermarkets and shops. Since 2016 the platform has been delivering products from 200 Walmart stores in 30 major cities in China. In the first six months after the start of cooperation, Walmart's revenue in China increased by 500%.

JD-Home delivers products from local supermarkets through a location-based smartphone app. The application is used by about 20 million active users per month.

In June this year Google announced that it would invest about $ 550 million in as part of strategic investments. For its part, said it plans to prepare a catalog of products available for sale and delivery in the US and Europe through the Google Shopping service, allowing users to search for products on e-commerce sites and compare prices. The partnership will open for JD a channel for consumers abroad, which is especially beneficial for China in the face of an ever-increasing trade war against America. As part of strategic partnership, Google will receive more than 27 million new shares of Jingdong Mall Class A, issued at a price of $ 20.29 per share.


In February 2018, the leadership of JD announced that over the next two years they will invest at least 1 billion euros in the development of a trading network in France. For comparison, the main competitor of in the western hemisphere - Amazon - has invested more than 15 billion euros in Europe in six years.

Day 2

Bianlifeng, a cashless store in Beijing, previously a major travel operator with a unique IT platform, was later sold and the company began to develop a chain of stores, which is translates as “Bee”:


  • these stores are equipped with an electronic price tag system, a face recognition system and the ability to instantly pay for goods with their card through the store application or Wechat.
  • One of the technological innovations is also a specialized program “smart store”, which, analyzing the behavior of the buyer in the store, gives the seller a suggested list of upcoming purchases and a system for the layout of products in the store.
  • The company is one of the leaders of the training system of its personnel, thanks to the presence of its online platform.  While in other companies it takes an average of 3 weeks, Bianlifeng manages in one.
  • regarding the question of loyalty: a person in the application can immediately see how much money he has saved which isone of the motivational factors for the Chinese.

Chunbo is a B2C e-commerce platform specializing in healthy and fresh products. Started by the founder of Sohu, China’s giant online content ,Chunbo has more than 200 employees at its headquarters in Beijing and recently opened offices in Shanghai and Guangzhou. Chunbo accomplished all this in just one year of launch.


The sources of the company are domestic suppliers of organic, green and non-GMO food products. The listed products on the Chunbo platform include meat, dairy products, wine, beverages, vegetables, fruits, seafood and other food products that are tested in their own laboratories (more than 2000 tests per month). Also they have their own certification system. All these technological innovations allow suppliers of the store to receive a “quality mark” on their products. Chunbo's main competitors are Yihaodian, TuoTuo and BenlaiShenghuo.


At Chunbo's office
Day 3

Alibaba is a Chinese public company, working in the sphere of e-commerce. The headquarters is located in Hangzhou. The main activities are trading between B2B companies and retail online trading. In 2012, sales on the two portals of the Alibaba group amounted to 1.1 trillionyuan ($ 170 billion).


Interesting facts about the company:


  • The name Alibaba is borrowed from a fairy tale about Ali Babu and forty robbers.  Its founder was inspired by the story of a poor carpenter who found wealth.
  • Developing the company, Jack Ma, the founder of the company and his team made some mistakes. Ma's experience would have never entered the world business history if there were no mistakes and difficulties in his path.  He associates Alibaba’s success with three controversial factors: lack of money, technology and a plan of action.  He said that limited resources made his team more productive, especially modest investments, because Ma had to use them extremely rationally.  Even when Alibaba grew into a large company, it tried to grow too fast, and Ma was forced to fire many employees.  He claimed that by the end of 2002, the company's profit was only $ 1.
  • Alibaba holds the record for the amount of money earned in an IPO.  Its $ 25 billion IPO broke the world record, leaving behind companies such as Facebook and Visa.
Alibaba Group
Day 4

Today we want to tell you about the speed of innovation in China on the example of the HEMA network. The logo of this company is a very famous hippo.



Alibaba's Hema supermarkets are a key platform for testing the new retail concept of Alibaba, as buyers can buy both online and offline. Since the beginning of 2016, Alibaba has opened 90 Hema stores in 14 cities (there will be 150 by the end of the year) with more than 10 million customers buying at these supermarkets.


Hippo HEMA


Being the first physical store from the giant Alibaba, Hema uses data and intelligent logistics technology to seamlessly integrate online autonomous systems designed to provide fresh food service in 30 minutes.

Here is an inside look from the tour leader Alesya Glushchuk:


1. On average, for the Hema supermarket which has been open for at least 1.5 years average daily sales are more than 800,000 yuan ($ 116,500) - about 60 percent of them come from online orders.

2. The slogan is very impressive: 


We make customer purchases pleasant by means of innovation and humanity.

3. They know everything about their customer, using as much big dataas possible, understanding what products, in what form and at what price should be sold online. For example, they noticed that Chinese young people cook little but eat a lot of “fast food”, turned to the database, found out which dishes people buy on average 4-5 times a week and started selling sets already. You just come home, put everything in the pan and get fresh food.

4. On the territory of the store there is Robocafé, where you order food brought by robots.


5. Strong loyalty system. You pay 1800 yuan a year: every day you have the right to a free pack of fusion food (we fight fast food), every Wednesday you buy everything with a 50% discount, and you can get a big discount for your birthday party at Robocafe.


6. Within 30 minutes, you will receive a ready-made lobster, which you chose online and saw into the camera, as it was swimming in the pool.


7. And I, a B2B fan, was struck by co-branding events with global companies, such as Starbucks and Mercedes. They do master classes together and Hema supplies food.


8. Here you can get a unique customer experience. There are cooking courses, a school of healthy food for children, the best items of high quality, and an unusual cafe with robots.


In the store Hema
Day 5
Auchan 1 Minute

These are shops without sellers, where each buyer can purchase the most popular food of the daily diet. Customers get into the store by scanning the code through the WeChat power application. After scanning the goods, they are added to the virtual cart. Then the customer pays via AliPay or WeChat Pay. This is a huge time saver for the buyer.


Возле магазина Auchan 1 Minute

The participants of the management tour have learned the secrets of the largest companies in the world from first hand.


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The impressions of previous tours participants:
Having already taken part in educational tours, these people are happy to share their knowledge and impressions.
Anton Nesiforov
Anton NesiforovProcess Manager for fruit and vegetable preservation, beverages, and alcohol

On our tour of Germany, we visited the most famous food exhibition, the Green Week, as well as numerous retail chains and enterprises operating in various interesting industries. We have a lot to learn. We must take the best and use it. Thank you, FastForward, for your careful approach to creating this tour.

Alena Nesiforova
Alena NesiforovaUnified Concept Manager for Izbenka and VkusVill

We visited several retail stores in Germany, as well as manufacturing facilities. What we liked the most about the stores we visited was the high quality standards of German retail. Retailers know how to sell high-quality goods at affordable prices, and this is probably the main secret of Germany's retail success. As for production, we were inspired by some of the small family businesses we saw.