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The second largest c-store operator in Taiwan, FamilyMart, is piloting a new store concept based on digital technology.
Earlier this year, 7-Eleven launched its first unstaffed convenience store in Taiwan. FamilyMart has now decided to launch its own futuristic store, utilising robots, virtual reality interfaces, interactive projection screens, smart shelves, and blockchain technology.
The retailer will analyse the results of the pilot store before rolling out the technology to other stores. Technology will help drive in-store efficiencies for both staff and customers, but FamilyMart is not currently pursuing a move towards unstaffed stores in Taiwan.
New-concept stores will see a Fujitsu Robopin robot at the entrance to highlight promotions and events in store. FamilyMart stores will utilise electronic price tags that interact with POS registers to update automatically, eliminating the time spent ordering stock.
Furthermore, freezer units will have video content showcasing products projected onto their doors. Taiwan is a key overseas market for the retailer, with around 3,150 stores nationwide. Therefore, it is not surprising to see FamilyMart choose the country for technological upgrades and partnerships.
When Dennis Uy's Phoenix acquired FamilyMart Philippines in January, the company aimed to reach 300 FamilyMart stores across the nation in the next five years. However, Phoenix is slowing down its plans to expand this year, focusing on the basics, such as renovating existing stores to maximise efficiency to drive profitability, before expanding the banner in areas such as Bonifacio Global City, Makati, Alabang and Quezon City.
It will also review other operational aspects, for example, ensuring optimal stock levels and that operational equipment such as air conditioning and freezers are in good repair. Furthermore, Phoenix will introduce a new IT system for FamilyMart and relocate the central distribution centre closer to Metro Manila.
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