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Lawson, Japan's third largest convenience store chain, will introduce self-checkout counters at selected stores.
Lawson has announced plans to introduce self-checkout counter services at selected stores in Japan. The unstaffed checkout service will be tested at a few stores in Tokyo and is expected to officially launch by February 2019. Unstaffed service hours will be between midnight to 5 a.m, but at least one staff member will always be available in the back office to monitor inventories.
Customers will need to download a mobile app to enter the store and use their smartphone camera to scan the bar code of products to pay. Purchases will be made via payment apps like Line Pay. Lawson President and CEO, Sadanobu Takemasu, said 'We will streamline our business by using every technology, to continue 24-hour operations as part of the social infrastructure [...]'.
All the leading Japanese retailers are looking to use technology like RFID to drive in-store efficiencies and boost productivity. We recently saw AEON, for example, announce their plans to set up over 100 stores by 2025 specifically tailored to meet the needs of Japan's senior population.
We expect Lawson to launch self-checkout counters in existing stores, but also extend this service (in some way, shape, or form) to new smaller format Petite Lawson stores. Lawson will continue to experiment and optimise the way they utilise technology. They are testing and developing robots so that they can respond and adapt to different scenarios, receive payments and place products into bags. However, human touches have not been forgotten. At selected stores, Lawson has introduced consultation counters and designated areas for senior shoppers to interact. The personalisation of products and services is becoming even more important, playing a vital role in establishing customer loyalty and addressing the wider needs of the consumer.
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