7-Eleven’s unmanned convenience store opens

7-Eleven Signature, the world’s first unmanned convenience store, had a soft opening at Lotte World Tower in Seoul yesterday. 

Touted as the “c-store of the future”, it is packed with latest-generation point-of-sale technology.

Shoppers can pay with the swipe of their hand, thanks to a biometric verification system that scans vein patterns in their palm. A scanner at the self-checkout terminal studies the size, colour and shape of a shopper’s veins, allowing them to make payments after they have registered their Lotte Card user information.

Other features include an unmanned checkout system with a 360-degree laser scanner that reads the barcode of every item within range and calculates the total cost, and automatic refrigerators with sensors that open their doors when a customer is nearby.

The vein-scanning technology has also been adopted for the store’s smart tobacco-vending machine, which can identify and prohibit minors from buying cigarettes. Smart CCTV systems offer extra security.

After a trial run involving 2000 Lotte World Tower workers, the store is scheduled to open to the public at the end of August, said CEO Jung Seung-in of Korea Seven, the holding company behind 7-Eleven.

“The ability to provide a variety of services and products, and a smart shopping environment in line with the latest consumer trends will be a major factor behind the success of convenience stores in the future.

“7-Eleven Signature comes as a premium smart convenience store packed with state-of-the-art information technology in light of the fourth industrial revolution, which will mark an iconic moment in the South Korean retail industry.”

This story first appeared on sister site Inside Retail Asia.