Tag Archives: Retail

Twenty4, South-East Asiaโ€™s first smart convenience store

Just read a news report that there is this smart convenience store, called Twenty4, opened in Ipoh yesterday. It is apparently the first of its kind in South East Asia.

From what I understand, it is smart in the sense that no one needs to man the convenience store. It is not quite as smart as the Amazon Go supermarket in Seattle where customers can walk in the shop and grab things out from the shelf without having to so much as going to a cashier or a self checkout till.

Amazon Go, introducing you to the world’s most advanced shopping technology

 

Basically Twenty4 is a shop filled with vending machines, so to speak. Instead of accepting cash, or coins, like the traditional vending machines we Malaysians are used to, these vending machines accept credit cards! LOL You can use PayWave to pay for items you want to buy, or maybe using your e-wallet too if you have one by scanning the QR code on the vending machine’s checkout display.

It may sound like it is quite exciting, but actually to think about it, it is just a marketing gimmick. From one of the video I watched, it is not quicker to buy from one of these vending machines than say from a manned cashier in a typical convenience store. Perhaps the difference is there are multiple vending machines rather than just one cashier serving you, so queue forming is not as likely.

Besides, their claims that they get advertising revenue, from displaying advertisements in their shop or vending machines, I believe, are just trying to give you the impression that the items you buy from their vending machines can potentially be subsidised and thus are cheaper than buying elsewhere. But I very much doubt it. Items sold in convenience stores are typically low value items and it is difficult to negotiate a good price if you are not moving products in volume. (These vending machines can’t store many items, to be honest.) And they don’t sell as many varieties as in a typical convenience store. Moreover, this Twenty4 even occupies a prime space, albeit quite a lousy one, in Ipoh Parade! (I said lousy because it is not connected to the inside of Ipoh Parade. People shopping in Ipoh Parade need to exit the nearest main entrance to get to the store. Not ideal at all.) Perhaps it is a concept store so they can afford to do that, initially. In the long run I believe it will be loss making. The area around there has not a dense enough population (in fact nowhere in Ipoh is dense enough LOL.) There are schools, a shopping mall, and a hotel next to it. But no high rise residential.

For some reasons Ipoh, full of old folks, likes to get into “smart” technologies, with robot waitresses dishing out food in Nam Heong SOHO, and now smart convenience store with vending machines. Is Ipoh really a good place for testing out new technologies for businesses? Perhaps Ipoh just has more adventurous and loaded entrepreneurs than others.

AEON Kinta City’s makeover

Now that we know that AEON Kinta City is not packing up as once feared, I’m sure the Ipoh folks are curious what is in the pipeline at the end of the current makeover effort.

Exterior wise apparently they want to bring the appearance of the shopping mall to be more inline with the rest of AEONs around the country. They are also adding awnings to the ground level shops/restaurants, presumably to provide a more appealing look and feel from the outside too?

Inside, this row of shops/F&B outlets are undergoing renovation.
F&B outlets AEON Kinta City
So like I said in one of my earlier post, the ground floor is going to be populated by F&B outlets. But it is not known what outlets will occupy them, apart from the existing names like Sushi King and Johny. And they will be ready in August, which is only 2 months away. I’m sceptical.

Following that, they will renovate the shop lots upstairs. There I really couldn’t care less, as I seldom buy things these days anyway. I do however genuinely hope some decent F&B outlets move in to the ground floor space.

AEON Klebang couldn’t fill up retail spaces on opening day

Went to AEON Klebang on their opening day today. As expected, they did not manage to fill up all their retail spaces on their opening day. Instead of putting up green walls, like they did in Kinta City and Station 18 when a shop moved out, they are more clever here by putting up nice wall papers or allowing companies to set up booths to cover up the shame.

AEON Klebang ground floor
Underwater world wall papers and Subaru car road show to obscure three empty lots on the ground floor (opposite Baskin & Robbins).

AEON Klebang empty lot
Astro marketing booth and property road show to occupy retail space on ground floor.

Now to think about it, those nice scenery wall papers on the second and third floors are probably there for the same reason, rather than for shoppers to take photos!

Shops that are yet to open on the opening day are H&M (29th Oct), UNIQLO (30th Oct), Mango (Feb 2016!), Hush Puppies, Nandos, Black Canyon, and a few more which I couldn’t remember. But that is not going to dampen people’s excitement to flock to the new shopping mall. One caution for you all though is don’t let your little ones lean on or stand too close to the barriers that are erected to prevent you from falling down to the ground floor. They look and feel flimsy, and seem to be made of cheap materials. Very concerning!

Kinta City Shopping Centre not closing down!

So according to my “deep throat”, the ground floor of Kinta City Shopping Centre in Ipoh is going to be populated by F&B outlets, with existing (international?) retail outlets closed down after Chinese New Year in 2016. GUESS has moved out first, as written in my previous blog entry, with that lot currently labelled “Renovation in progress”, probably paving the way for the change next year (it is difficult to foresee tenant moving in just for a couple of months anwyay?!). And these F&B outlets can apparently have longer opening hours, probably till later into the night. Old Town White Coffee is going to move in, I heard.

This is good news to me, as I seldom buy clothing and such likes anyway. I definitely welcome more options on food. I think it will appeal to local customers too who like to do groceries shopping in Kinta City. In fact many families do like doing groceries shopping in AEON supermarket. So no, Kinta City Shopping Centre is not closing down. Far from it. It is, in my view, going to be transformed into a more functional shopping mall, with more emphasis on local customers. Bad news for those who harbour hopes that IKEA might move in. And it won’t be turned into a hospital, or airport, however ridiculous that may sound ๐Ÿ™‚ What I’d really like to find out though is their new layout on ground floor. Should be interesting.

As for AEON Klebang, which is due to open next Sunday (21st October), there will be some duplicate retail outlets with those in Kinta City, e.g. Esprit, G2000, Giordano etc, for the next few months until CNY next year. I wonder if these shops get a bargain deal from AEON for keeping two shops running at the same time. It will be silly not to ๐Ÿ˜‰

Updated on 16/10/2015:
G2000 Kinta City
G2000 has closed too, with a new fashion tenant to move in in November. Perhaps the ground floor make over happens after CNY next year.

GUESS has closed in Kinta City Shopping Mall

Went to AEON supermarket in Kinta City Shopping Mall for some groceries shopping. On the way out, saw the GUESS clothing shop was clearing up.
image
GUESS
As you can see, all the manikins were gone. And the shop was very empty, with a few staff still packing away things. I suspect they are closing the outlet here and move to AEON Klebang. I wonder if there are more to come. With the space where McDonald’s used to be still vacant, l think the shopping mall might find it difficult to fill up the space behind by GUESS too. It is quite a large space to begin with, on the ground floor, facing the main entrance and next to where events take place in the mall. Rental will be very expensive that’s for sure. We’ll see.

AEON Klebang opening on 21st October 2015

AEON is hiring, with a booth infront of AEON supermarket in Kinta City, for AEON Klebang, Ipoh.
Aeon walk in interview
When asked when AEON Klebang is opening, the girl told me 21st October 2015 is the opening date. Escalators in the shopping mall have all been installed too, as I know. I’m just a little surprised that it is so soon, considering that the market is rather soft at the moment. Very interested to know if they manage to fill up the retail spaces there on their opening day.

Updated 21/10/2015:
It’s the opening day of AEON Klebang. Here is their location if you don’t know where AEON Klebang is:
Location of AEON Klebang

Updated 22/10/2015:
Floor plan of AEON Klebang.
AEON Klebang Floor Plan

Shops directory of AEON Klebang.
AEON Klebang Shops Directory