In Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film Minority Report, Tom Cruise played Precrime officer John Anderton who was in a mysterious murder conspiracy in the year 2054. John changed his eyeballs in the black market to get away from iris-recognition identity detection cameras. When he walked into a shop, AI windows and AR assistant intuitively recommended products by reading his new iris information and detecting body motions – that was the moment when John realized he finally had a clean identity to trace the real murderer. Now, in the year 2018, Alibaba’s Tmall is making part of the shopping technology true—and no, you don’t have to replace your eyes to experience it. 

On May 29, Alibaba’s Tmall opened its first co-branding New Retail Megastore in Beijing for its partner Intersport, one of the world largest sports retailers. Intersport opened its online flagship store on Tmall in 2016. The company hopes to expand offline landscape with Alibaba’s Megastore strategy, a crucial part of Tmall and Alibaba’s new retail blueprint aiming at digitally empowering brands by encouraging brick-and-mortar performance with data and AI support. The store is located in Qianmen, part of the traditional inner city of Beijing which is one block away from the Palace Museum.

Fully equipped with cutting-edge technology, the Megastore signals trends in the retail business. More than commercial benefits, in the near future, the cooperation and model may push third-party service providers including consulting firms in the retail segment to the corner and result in significant industry turmoil.

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Runhua Zhao

Runhua Zhao is a technology reporter based in Beijing. Connect with her via email: runhuazhao@technode.com