ITOCHU Announces Launch of Next-Generation Retail Solution for Delivering Smart Stores

December 6, 2019

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Yoshihisa Suzuki, President & COO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that ITOCHU and Itochu Techno-Solutions Co., Ltd. (headquartered in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Satoshi Kikuchi, President & CEO; hereinafter “CTC”) are launching CTC DX Solution for Retail, a next-generation retail solution that comprehensively supports the delivery of smart stores utilizing new technologies such as AI and IoT.

The environment surrounding the retail and distribution industry has changed dramatically, with labor shortages due to a low birth rate and rapidly aging society, growth in the number of foreign visitors to Japan, and the widespread adoption of cashless payments. Against this background, there is a growing need for “smart stores” which use various tools such as AI, cameras and electronic tags to digitalize distribution and aim to create new value through the improvement of business efficiency and utilization of data. Japan’s digital transformation*1 (hereinafter “DX”) market in retail/distribution including the creation of smart stores reached 40 billion yen in FY2019 and is expected to exceed 250 billion yen in FY2030*2.
However, smart store operation involves many challenges, such as the costs of adoption of new technology borne by the retailers and a shortage of engineers to maintain smart stores.

CTC DX Solution for Retail provides integrated services to support all types of retailers in creating smart stores every step of the way, from the installation of in-store sensors and cameras to data marketing and the linkage of retail and manufacturing data. The main services provided are (1) consultancy services for the creation of smart stores and the utilization of IoT data, (2) the provision of instore devices such as AI cameras and sensors, (3) the provision of smartphone applications for self-checkout and payment, and (4) the construction of a platform for cloud computing services such as data analysis using AI and the linkage of data between companies.
With ready-made functions for self-checkout in an unmanned store where customers scan a QR Code to enter the store and do everything from reading the barcodes of purchased goods to paying with electronic money on their smartphones, or for walkthrough payment where the entire shopping process is completed without checkout through the use of product shelves with weight sensors and AI cameras, CTC DX Solution for Retail makes it possible to deliver a smart store without spending time selecting equipment or designing and developing applications and without spending money on developing systems independently.

ITOCHU developed CTC DX Solution for Retail in collaboration with CTC. The two companies plan to utilize ITOCHU’s network to make the solution available to retailers and distributors. By collaborating with startups in Japan and overseas and with ITOCHU Group companies and by supporting business development, ITOCHU aims to provide extensive support for the digital transformation of retailers.

Under its medium-term business plan “Brand-new Deal 2020,” ITOCHU is committed to improving value across the consumer-related Group value chain and evolving its business model with new technologies, as a next-generation merchant. Through these initiatives, ITOCHU aims to support digital transformation not only in the retail and distribution sectors but also in other industries such as logistics, financial services and healthcare.

  • *1Digital Transformation: When businesses adapt to a dramatically changing business environment by using data and digital technologies to transform their products, services and business models based on the needs of their customers and society and when businesses also transform their business operations, organizations, processes, and corporate culture/climate to gain a competitive edge.
    <Source: METI “DX Promotion Guidelines ver. 1.0,” 2018>
  • *2Source: Fuji Chimera Research Institute, Inc. “Outlook for Digital Transformation Market 2018”

1.Illustration of Unmanned Store Self-Checkout

2. Illustration of Walkthrough Payment

  • *TOF sensor: Sensor that uses time of flight to measure 3D information