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Suning implements robots into smart retail operations

Chinese electronics retailer Suning.com Co. Ltd. said Aug. 7 that it is adding robots to its operations to improve efficiency and enhance the customer experience.

Equipped with cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence technologies, the robots will help Suning with purchasing, warehouse operations, sales, logistics and customer services.

One robot model being rolled out by the company is a mobile vending machine for shopping malls. As it moves through the mall, shoppers can stop it with a voice command or touch, then scan a barcode with their smartphones to open the door and select products such as bottled drinks from the shelves inside. The robot detects which items have been picked up for purchase through sensors and visual identification, and automatically charges the user's mobile wallet for the products once the door is closed.

Suning said it expects the use of robots to strengthen its core competitiveness in smart retail, and plans to continue upgrading its robotic capabilities through increased investment in the future.