Late night snacks to fill up on an almost full stomach? A simple button-down white dress shirt because in a rush you spilled coffee on yours or maybe a portable charger because you decided on a last minute night out around town with friends?
Absolutely nothing to worry about as they are strewn left and right on the corner of literally every street in the urban Tokyo metropolis.
Yes, convenience stores like 7-Eleven, Lawson, Sunkus to name a few are the perfect definition of “convenient” and just when you thought they couldn’t get any more convenient.
Lawson Inc. is said to introduce unmanned check out counters beginning spring of 2018 to cope with the shortage of labor most of their outlets are currently experiencing and that is inevitably threatening the chain’s survival.
Due to the rising difficulty in finding the staff to cover its late night shifts, the convenience store chain hopes to curb this hurdle using “labor-saving digital technology” which they hope would help improve their operational efficiency as mentioned in a statement by its president, Mr. Sadanobu Takemasu.
The advance of technology, as most would argue, is to be blamed for the labor crunch in most convenience stores once heavily reliant on manned operations.
The unmanned operations will be carried out from midnight to 5 AM, with an increase in surveillance cameras in all stores to fight off vandalism and shoplifting. The sale of cigarettes and alcoholic beverages will also be unavailable during these hours.
Lawson revealed a state of art payment technology equipped with sensor detection of radio frequency identification (RFID) featured on most products and all the customers would have to do is download a special app on their phones enabling them to enter the premises and pay for goods.
Whether this is indeed a solution to the outstanding issue of staff shortage or not Lawson Inc. is taking no chances, once taking a huge blow to its inventory control and sales after suspending their round the clock operations.
“We never know the effects of labor-saving unless we actually introduce it.” Mr. Takemasu rightfully added.