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7-Eleven is testing trial facial recognition payment at one of its stores in Tokyo this month.
7-Eleven will open a pilot store in collaboration with NEC. The store will be approx. 10-20 sq m and will only serve NEC Group employees. To access the store, staff will need to preregister themselves. They will then be able to enter the store by scanning their employee ID or be authenticated by a facial recognition system. To checkout, shoppers will need to scan the bar codes of products and identify themselves in the same way as before. Payment will then be deducted from the salary of the individual.
Last month, we outlined how retailers across Japan are facing increasing challenges to hiring staff at their stores. Retailers are therefore using automation and technology to drive in-store efficiencies as part of the solution. The retailer's latest initiative is small in scale and restrictive, but could be the first step towards introducing more unstaffed stores in the future. It could be rolled-out to new stores, for example, dedicated to shoppers from selected companies to service office and factory workers. While the pilot store will have no cashiers, staff members will be on hand to place orders and stock shelves
Unstaffed 7-Eleven stores in other markets, such as South Korea and Taiwan, operated by area franchise partners already exist. These unstaffed stores are more typical in size and product range relative to other 7-Eleven stores in the network.
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