Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com has opened two retail stores in the Netherlands, which the firm says will be manned with robots that prepare and deliver packages, CNBC reported on Monday. These two “robotic shops,” branded Ochama, are located in the cities of Leiden and Rotterdam and mark JD.com’s initial foray into the European market with bricks and mortar locations.
JD.com said that shoppers can use the Ochama app to order products, ranging from food to beauty and home furnishings. They can then go to the store where automated vehicles and robotic arms will pick and sort orders.
When a shopper gets to the store, they can scan a barcode using their app and their orders will be carried to them via a conveyer belt. Orders can also be delivered to their homes directly.
The Chinese e-commerce company said it plans to open two further stores in the Netherlands, in the cities of Amsterdam and Utrecht.
Analysts said that JD.com’s entry into Europe marks the start of a potential challenge to Amazon. The U.S. e-commerce giant has launched its own cashierless grocery stores called Amazon Go in the U.S. and Amazon Fresh in the U.K.
At present, most of JD.com‘s revenue still comes from China but in recent years, it has expanded its overseas presence. The company operates an online shopping site called Joybuy.com for international customers. It has an e-commerce joint venture in Thailand and it’s also the largest shareholder of Vietnamese shopping platform Tiki.