Alibaba’s future of retail involves QR codes, smart mirrors, and gamified discounts

According to Chinese online retail giant Alibaba, the future of retail technology is rooted in object and facial recognition, QR codes, and gamifying shopper discounts.

These are the technologies the $32 billion retailer is pioneering back home in China, and is currently showcasing in pop-up shops around Australia, hoping to entice local merchants to implement the tech with their own e-commerce platforms to drive better omnichannel engagement from shoppers.

At a preview of the company’s ‘New Retail’ popup store in Melbourne this morning, SmartCompany was shown the technology in action, guided through a small replica apartment where each object was tagged with large black and white QR codes.

Straight off the bat, this poses an issue for the everyday Australian consumer. According to James Hudson, Alibaba’s director of corporate affairs and marketing in Australia, Chinese consumers scan “billions” of QR codes every day.

But in Australia, the weird square barcode is rarely seen, and a piece of research from 2012 revealed 62% of Australians didn’t know what they were. Read more

Dominic Powell – Smart Company – 23 Apr 2018