Major convenience store operator Seven-Eleven Japan Co. has launched an experimental outlet in Tokyo with an unmanned payment system and facial recognition technology.
The facial recognition system was developed by technology giant NEC Corp.
Seven-Eleven Japan plans to open such outlets in locations where customers can be identified, such as office buildings and factories, after resolving various technological challenges.
The trial shop, located in a building that hosts NEC group companies, can be used only by their employees. The NEC-developed system checks customers’ faces against pre-registered facial images of employees using cameras when they enter the outlet and make payments.
After shoppers scan barcodes on products in the self-checkout area, the purchase amounts are automatically deducted from their salaries.
The use of digital technologies is growing in the retail industry, which faces manpower shortages.
FamilyMart Co. and Aeon Co. have introduced self-service cash registers. Lawson Inc. is testing a system in which customers make payments by scanning barcodes with a smartphone.
Japan, however, is lagging behind other countries in the launch of stores with unattended payment systems.
U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. and other foreign firms operate stores equipped with cameras and sensors, enabling payments to be made automatically via smartphone apps when shoppers leave the stores with items they purchase.