the future of retail? unmanned shops galore at SMRT’s new Hive retail innovation hub.

Located at Esplanade Xchange, Hive 2.0 introduces 10 retail experiences focusing on automation, robotics and digital retail services. 


Stellar Lifestyle, an enterprising arm of SMRT, today pulled back the curtain on a new retail innovation hub: Hive 2.0.

A hub showcasing the future of retail, shaped and moulded by the nimble hands of technology.

Ms Low Yen Ling, Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry & Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, graced the launch of this 3,200 sq ft space nestled within Esplanade MRT station.

Imagine a shopping experience where your purchases are tenderly picked by a robotic arm, or a visit to 7-Eleven that omits the traditional checkout register.

It’s retail reinvented, a refreshed rendition of Stellar Lifestyle’s earlier innovation hub, Hive, that opened its doors in 2022. 

Tony Heng, president of Stellar Lifestyle, says: “This year, Hive 2.0 will leverage artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and connected networks to help our merchant partners become more operationally resilient.”

Among the constellation of concepts at Hive 2.0, six shine bright with the promise of ‘autonomous retail’.

Unistop Tech’s Mr. R Robotics operates a room where a robotic arm gracefully plucks your purchases off the shelves. Here, SMEs find a sanctuary, a space where their goods can meet the world without the daunting shadows of rental and manpower costs.

Irene Zhu, the visionary behind Unistop Tech, shares her dream: “Rental and manpower costs can be limiting factors for SMEs, so we hope to enable them to sell their products in a physical space.”

Then there’s Yzel, another gem from the Stellarate innovation programme, offering SMEs pop-up physical spaces to display samples of their products.

Customers can scan a product’s QR code, and home delivery can be arranged via Yzel’s online platform.

The first autonomous 7-Eleven in Singapore is also part of the conglomerate of shops featured.

Shopping is as simple as a tap of a card, a stroll through the aisles, and a walk out the door, with smart cameras and technology ensuring that you only pay for what you have taken.

Hive 2.0 also features culinary items. Hive Kitchen, run by the food and beverage incubator IncuBaker, has shops such as Marie’s Lapis, specialising in Peranakan cuisine.

Oh yeah, it also has a fully automated kueh-lapis making machine.

Welcome to the futr, welcome to Hive 2.0.


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Sean Loo

Ignition Labs' resident editor loves all things retro, even though he was born in the late 90s. His main job encompasses tons of driving (and a massive carbon footprint), but he swears he turns off the lights each time he leaves his room.

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