Singaporeans that want to avoid the face-to-face experience most telco retail excursions require can now head to Singtel's new pop-up shop to deal with a bot instead.
The telecommunications giant has touted its new project, called Unboxed, as an "unmanned pop-up store designed to introduce customers to a new retail experience featuring the convenience of digital technology in a friendly store environment".
"The future of retail is here and now. Our digital transformation integrates online and offline customer touchpoints to deliver fresh and fuss-free buying experiences to consumers," CEO of Consumer Singapore at Singtel Yuen Kuan Moon said.
"Unboxed fulfils the needs of today's consumer and provides a peek into the next-generation of retail -- fast, instant, convenient, and experiential."
Open 24/7, Unboxed allows customers to consult with a roving live bot, powered by facial recognition technology, to receive personalised recommendations, try out phones, sign up for mobile plans at video-assisted self-serve kiosks, collect purchases on the spot, and browse and buy accessories such as headphones, phone cases, power banks, and handsets.
Visitors can also pay bills, top up prepaid cards and Dash wallets, and get SIM card replacements.
Singtel Unboxed: A portable unmanned store
Unboxed measures 45 square metres when fully extended and while it is currently taking up real estate at 20 Pickering Street, Singtel hopes to move the store to a new location every few months to high-traffic areas such as transport hubs and school campuses.
Unboxed was created in partnership with NCS and SingPost, with the former being responsible for store security. Singtel said NCS developed a "round-the-clock security platform" called Sentinel, while the POPStation lockers are prefilled with devices and replenished daily using SingPost's Last Mile Platform.
According to Singtel, Unboxed builds on the success of its flagship Comcentre store that offers an "intelligent retail experience" through a WiFi queuing system, integrated online and in-store shopping carts, and instant purchases via automated checkout.
'Aggressive' and 'intense' competition from a carrier in India as well as only counting prepaid customers who are actually paying for a service saw Singtel Group drop 40 million mobile customers in the most recent quarter.