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Convenience store chain GS25 opens recyclable container-type unmanned store

By Lim Chang-won Posted : July 25, 2022, 10:00 Updated : July 25, 2022, 10:00

[Courtesy of GS Retail]

SEOUL -- For workers at an oil refinery, South Korea's convenience store chain GS25 has used a recyclable container to open an unmanned store where customers choose products and pay for themselves using QR codes and credit cards. Access is controlled through dedicated apps.

The unmanned store erected at a GS Caltex factory in the southern port city of Yeosu used a container of about 18 square meters with electricity and lighting facilities to display about 500 kinds of food and non-food products, according to GS Retail, the operator of GS25. 

The container store adopted unmanned solutions such as access authentication and self-payment. GS25 would consider introducing a "grab-and-go" system that automatically pays when leaving the store without a separate payment process.

Container-type unmanned convenience stores will be available in locations such as construction sites, industrial complexes, and islands. "We will open container-type unmanned convenience stores focusing on new locations where rollout was impossible, with lower investment costs and the advantage of recycling after moving if necessary," said Kim Joo-hyun, head of GS25's new concept development team.

In January 2022, GS25 adopted a smartphone-based management system for unmanned convenience stores. The mobile remote management solution allows store managers to check who enters and leaves the store in real-time. Operators can remotely open the door or control the volume of speakers.

Hundreds of unmanned stores in South Korea require customers to scan the barcodes of products they wish to buy using a credit card or a digital payment method. Many unmanned stores are located inside big buildings or industrial complexes in remote areas targeting workers who have to travel long distances on foot to visit manned convenience stores.

Simple authentication and payment solutions have been developed for unmanned stores. Customers can use services by authenticating themselves with fingerprints and passwords. 

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