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Alibaba’s Smart Ladies’ Rooms engage mall shoppers

Alibaba’s Tmall and shopping centre operator Intime have partnered to create a New Retail-driven model for restrooms.

Last week, the two unveiled the first “Smart Ladies’ Room” at the West Lake Intime Shopping Mall in Hangzhou City. It’s the latest extension of New Retail by Tmall and Intime, after they last month showed off a smart nursing room for mothers shopping at malls.

Consumers waiting in line can make use of technologies like a pair of ‘magic mirrors’, an augmented-reality-powered digital screen that lets shoppers virtually try on and purchase cosmetics, including a wide array of lipstick, blush, eyeliners and eyeshadow, and a vending machine offering beauty and feminine products from nearly 10 brands, including Shu Uemera, Lancome, Elizabeth Arden and Benefit, to lighten the load for ladies out shopping. All products can be purchased for RMB 0.01 each through the Alipay mobile wallet.

The Smart Ladies’ Room at West Lake Intime Shopping Mall is already open to the public, while one at Hangzhou’s Wulin Intime is under construction. The company said its next steps involves reworking more restrooms at tourism sites, shopping malls and hotels.

Alibaba’s Smart Ladies’ Rooms - Restroom queue

Alibaba’s plans to expand the model to more public restrooms coincides with China’s continued push for a “toilet revolution,” a national drive to improve sanitation and build more clean restrooms across the country.

China intends to build or renovate 64,000 toilets at tourist sites between 2018 and 2020, by the end of which the country aims to raise tourism revenue to RMB 7 trillion – up from RMB 3.9 trillion in 2016, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

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