7-Eleven unveils fully-automated stores in Asia

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You might one day need to say goodbye to late night awkward chats with 7-Eleven staffers, with the convenience retailer revealing new fully-automated stores in Asia.

Marketed as ‘7-Eleven Express’ stores, the vending machine-styled stores were unveiled across four locations in South Korea, each featuring five vending machines with more than 200 products inside.

Each vending machine contains high-demand products, including drinks, snacks, prepared meals and processed foods, with each store also featuring a microwave oven and hot water dispenser for use.

Customers can pay either through the individual vending machine or through the central kiosk, using either their credit card or a prepaid transit card, with cash not accepted at the automated locations.

“This model is designed to maximise the profit of our current franchise owners,” 7-Eleven told Inside FMCG.

Currently under trial, 7-Eleven has made no statements on its website or via its social media accounts with regards to a global expansion of its Express stores, with Aussies looking for a late-night Slurpee having to stick to human-interaction for the foreseeable future.

7-Eleven X Store

In an earlier step towards fully-automated stores, 7-Eleven Taiwan launched an unmanned store in January, trialing software that allowed customers to pay through facial recognition.

While only trialed on the ground level of the Taipei headquarters, a second X store is set to be opened to the general public 24 hours a day, including electronic price tags and a smart robot welcoming each customer as soon as they step through the door.

Again, no word has been released on a possible Australian expansion, with the 600-plus stores currently operating around the country sticking to traditional employee-manned stores.

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