Since Amazon envisioned its staff-less store concept last year, shoplifting has been one of the major concerns that people have raised to question the sustainability of this new shopping model. It’s natural to speculate that unmanned stores will face more shoplifters due to the absence of shopkeepers, guards, cashiers, or whomever onsite to keep an eye on the behavior of shoppers. But those who are working on the frontier of this innovation think otherwise.

“Risk control is probably the first word that comes to mind when talking about unmanned stores. But with the support of technology, the rate for stolen or damaged goods in our automatic stores is far lower than in traditional retailers,” says Chen Zilin, founder and CEO of BingoBox, at TechCrunch Shanghai today in a panel dedicated to China’s burgeoning staff-less store market.

As a forerunner in the vertical, BingoBox is a 24-hour self-service convenience store that allows customers to enter and make payments through a simple smartphone scan. Their risk control is mainly achieved through a smart retail shelving system equipped with cameras, which will capture the customers’ actions and collect data. Videos detecting irregular behaviors will be sent to the backend to be double checked by employees.

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.