One of Japan's top convenience store chains will open a next-generation store on Wednesday. The new FamilyMart branch will be equipped with technology to make the shopping experience seamless and reduce the need for staff.
The new shop, located near Tokyo Station, only needs one employee. Cameras on the ceiling and sensors on the shelves will determine what products customers have picked up. When customers approach a touch screen, their items and the prices will show up.
The self-service checkouts have cameras linked to a screen in the back room. The store's only employee will use the cameras to verify the ages of people wishing to buy alcohol.
This setup will be a big help for an industry struggling with labor shortages.
A FamilyMart executive says the company expects the new model to automate half of the workload at a store.
Other convenience store chains Seven-Eleven Japan and Lawson are testing similar systems.