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Intelligent Retail: New Technologies Drives the Reform of Retail Sector

China has kept the first place in the world in terms of online retail markets for many years and e-commerce has become the major force driving the new impetus of its economic growth. Under the economic new normal, e-commerce never stops exploring innovation modes. Innovation concepts and applications including digital application, AI, big data, cloud calculating are turning into the breakthroughs for e-commerce enterprises to seek new development.


Sun Weimin, vice president of Suning Commerce Group Co. Ltd., said at the 2017 Fair that consumption was the main driving force for economic growth, and new technologies were driving the retail sector change. "Sound development of intelligent retail, stimulates new supply and invigorates new consumption; it will make greater contributions to pushing forward the supply-side structural reform.


Reviewing the history of China's retail sector, Sun summarizes that the recent forty years can be divided into four phases as follows: food and clothing consumption in the era of shortage economy, large-scale consumption with price advantage in era of scale economy, quality consumption transferring form quantity to quality in the stage of China's undergoing supply-side structural reform. He believes that service consumption, which is the future consumption turned from enhanced quality consumption, would be mainly the demand of happy experience relating to time consumption.


From Sun Weimin's perspective, retail sector, ancient and traditional yet young and modern, is becoming more and more intelligent under the influence of Internet, big data, Internet of Things and AI. In other words, intelligent retail is the future mode of retail sector.


"The biggest change of transformation from traditional retail to intelligent retail is the shift from qualitative retail to quantitative retail." said Sun. Throughout thousands of years' history of retail sector, sales was achieved by scene interactive personal experience among owners, staffs and customers. Quantitative retail brought about by new technologies such as Internet will precisely know where and when, who and how many people need what products and services. Then the retail, during the process of purchase, sales and after-sales service, can be customized according to consumer's personal behavior, which is the most basic starting point of intellectual retail.


In this regard, Wang Bingnan, assistant minister of Ministry of Commerce, said at the E-Commerce Conference that Ministry of Commerce was to promote the development of "digital commerce", accelerate the in-depth integration of information technology and circulation, and push forward the integrated development of emerging industries so as to inject new energy into the supply-side structural reform. At the same time, online and offline integrated development and the two-way fusion between online enterprises and commercial entities will be vigorously promoted. And special action for improving the quality and efficiency of retail sector will be launched to develop intellectual commercial district.