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This Friday, Emart will open another cashier-less store in Seoul. The store will feature various technology the retailer has been testing over the last few months, including Pepper the robot and Eli smart shopping trolleys, to improve shopper experience.
At an existing 212 sq m Emart store in Gangnam, a modern district in Seoul, the retailer is remodelling how customers pay in-store. On Friday, customers will be able to pay via Shinsegae's (Emart's parent and operator) mobile payment service SSG Pay without having to go to a checkout counter.
To support shoppers who do not use the app, there will be a self-checkout counter, and a cashier will also be available for the sale of alcohol and cigarettes which require age verification. The revamped store will also introduce electronic price labels. This will add to the store's new and modern look, and allow the retailer to track, manage and analyse pricing more easily.
Emart already operates several unstaffed Emart24 convenience stores in Seoul as well as in North Joeolla Province (south-west of South Korea). The retailer uses self-checkout machines in some stores to service customers around the clock without workers, while other stores operate without staff members only in the early hours of the morning.
Unlike some unstaffed stores, which require mobile registration or facial recognition, Emart24 stores are accessible with a credit card. The store features 360-degrees scanners, and when customer place their items on a conveyor belt, the scanner locates the barcodes. For support, customers can speak to Emart24 employees at the head office via in-store microphones.
Lotte Mart, Emart's fierce rival began to introduce self-service checkout counters in April earlier this year. These initiatives are partly driven by the government's plan to increase the minimum hourly wage to KRW10,000 (US$9) by 2020. Earlier this year, the minimum wage increased 16.4% to KRW7,530 (US$7) per hour.