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JD.com launches new store concept in Europe in The Netherlands, staffed by robots

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

11 Jan 2022

Retail

Image: Ochama

Chinese online retail giant JD.com has opened its first physical stores in Europe. Operating under brand name Ochama, the stores are located in Leiden and Rotterdam in the Netherlands, with two more planned for Amsterdam and Utrecht.

A leader in supply chain-based technology and service provider, Ochama is essentially a robotic operated retailer as part of a new shopping format merging online ordering and pick-up options in which robots prepare the parcels, and home delivery service.

The stores, which carry fast fashion ranges for men, women and children, also sell household goods, furniture, beauty and food.

Using the latest cutting-edge technologies, customers see robots picking and packing pre-ordered merchandise. These can be ordered by the store’s app or online.

Cashiers not required

Removing the need for cashiers, a QR code is scanned at the check-out, with orders carried to customers via a conveyor belt, prepared by robots. Ochama’s chief operation officer Mark den Butter said: “Dutch people are passionate for innovation and a green environment, and Ochama’s shopping format is designed to contribute to both aspects. There will be no queue and fewer traffic jams to do the chores as they can go for convenience, benefits and everything in one stop at Ochama.”

The Netherlands is one of the most urbanized countries in Europe. Data from the World Bank shows that as of 2020, 92 percent of the population in the Netherlands live in cities with a polycentric urban structure, which has led Ochama’s decision to open shops across four cities.

Pass Lei, general manager of Ochama, JD Worldwide. said: “With rich experience in retail and cutting-edge logistics technologies that the company has accumulated over the years, we aspire to create an unprecedented shopping format for customers in Europe with better price and service.”

Elsewhere at JD.com, luxury group LVMH has strengthened its partnership with the Chinese retail giant, making its portfolio of luxury brands available on the popular e-commerce platform while retaining creative control on content, branding and user experience.