Alibaba has showed off some of its new technology at a staff-less coffee shop at its annual Taobao Maker Festival. The coffee shop, called Tao Cafe, is part of Alibaba’s “new retail” strategy whereby technology and big data are used to optimise online and offline stores to improve the customer experience. At Tao Cafe, users scan a QR code on Alibaba’s Taobao app when they enter the coffee shop, where they are then tracked by cameras using facial recognition technology. The cameras will track what they pick up and will automatically charge the user’s mobile wallet when they leave the Cafe. Alibaba says that the temporary Tao Cafe is a proof of concept that shows that AI and data technology can be successfully used in the offline world.