Chinese retailer and technology company JD.com has opened its first shops in Europe – in the Netherlands. It has opened two robotic pick-up shops under the name of Ochama, a new brand, in Leiden and Rotterdam, with two more to follow in Amsterdam and Utrecht.
Customers using the shops can order online and pick-up in-store, where parcels are prepared by robots, or opt for next-day home delivery. At the store, shoppers scan a QR code on the Ochama app at the checkout, and can then watch as orders appear on a conveyor belt.
The Ochama name combines the words ‘omnichannel’ and ‘amazing’, and the company says that this is the first omnichannel retailer in the Netherlands to offer both food and non-food products in one shopping app. Shoppers can buy goods including fresh food and groceries, household appliances, baby products, fashion and home furnishings. The Netherlands has been chosen for its high level of urbanisation; it cites World Bank data that suggests 92% of the Dutch population live in cities.
Mark den Butter, chief operations officer at Ochama says that by using logistics and supply chain management technologies to their full extent, shops can bring product prices for customers down by an extra 10%.
“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,” says Pass Lei, general manager of Ochama, JD Worldwide.
JD.com, founded in Beijing in 2004, is the largest online retailer in China, where it serves more than 550m active customers and its nationwide fulfilment network promises next-day delivery to more than 1bn people. It boasts building the world’s first fully automated warehouse in Shanghai, where it is now developing drone delivery and automatic delivery robots. Its global research and development is based in California, where it looks for new ways to improve the retail experience. Ochama, however, is its first foray into serving customers in Europe.