7-Eleven c-store of the future opens in Seoul

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, says 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.”

* Original reporting by MH Lee of Korea Bizwire.

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