Honestbee is best known for its grocery app and has now opened a cashless store called Habitat offering a mix on online and offline shopping, becoming one of Alibaba’s biggest competitors. “We use phones to track, we use tech to make shopping easier, we use as much data as possible to make inventory smarter. To be honest, any store should be doing that,” said Joel Sng, Honestbee co-founder.
Habitat users scan an app on their phones to enter the store and when they wish to check out they push their carts through a gate into a secure area behind a panel and while their groceries are being scanned and packed they can enjoy a coffee or a snack at the one of the restaurants. When the groceries are ready, they get a notification on their phone that they can pick it up, also, they can order groceries online and have them delivered to their homes.
Honestbee is one of the latest tech companies trying to update the traditional retail experience in food and groceries, it’s main competitors being Amazon in Singapore and Alibaba-owned e-commerce platform Lazada across Southeast Asia. Habitat could help grow Honestbee’s brand and attract new users. Plus, more than 400,000 people visited the Habitat store in Singapore in its first three months.
Moreover, the company plans to open a second store outside of Singapore by the end of the year outside of its existing operations in eight countries across Asia. Meanwhile, Alibaba’s Lazada has also been apparently experimenting with physical stores, in that respect, Shirley Zhu, a Singapore-based analyst with IGD, stated:
“For Honestbee and Habitat, the direct competition will be Alibaba’s Lazada. Habitat is a newcomer in the space, and if they compete with online players and supermarkets, it’s going to be a really tough battle for them.”