Japanese konbini are about to get a lot more high-tech as FamilyMart is set to trial unmanned payment systems. The convenience store giant opened a new outlet near Tokyo Station with unmanned payment counters; there's only one employee on hand to stock shelves.
The outlet is also known as Famima, one of FamilyMart's sub-brands for its more upmarket konbini, and features over 40 cameras to help identify the items you choose as you move around the store. To pay, you need to stand in a designated zone where the cost of your purchases is automatically calculated; you can then pay like you do at any other konbini: by card, IC point card, or even cash.
The shop sells around 700 items, significantly less than a regular FamilyMart store, which typically carry around 3,000 items. The store is also smaller, approximately one-third of the size of an ordinary FamilyMart.
FamilyMart says it will consider opening more of these self-checkout stores depending on customer feedback. This is not the first move made by FamilyMart to help reduce operation costs; last year, the chain also tested out robots that could be remotely controlled by employees. It seems like FamilyMart isn’t the only one moving forward with contactless payment – 7-Eleven and Lawson are also testing out unmanned payment systems.
You can find the new store at: Sapia Tower 1F, 1-7-12 Marunouchi, Chiyoda. The store is open 7am-11pm daily. For more information, visit here.
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