High-tech convenience stores boom amid high labor costs and contactless services

A digital transformation is taking place in South Korea's convenience store industry, with local retailers racing to open stores installed with the latest retail technologies.

GS Retail, the operator of local convenience store chain GS25, opened its first smart store, called the GS25 DX LAB, in southern Seoul on Thursday(30 Jun).

The 190-square-meter space is filled with the latest retail technology developed by the company. Customers can purchase products using their face, get information on wine at the touch of a palm and watch customized advertisements recommended by artificial intelligence, which can recognize a person's gender and age through its sensors.

After midnight, the store operates completely without staff, and customers have to verify their identification with a credit card or through mobile identification methods before entering the store.

"I find it very convenient, because I can verify my ID with just my credit card. No need to download an app or go through multiple steps. I could see this being applied to other stores, especially those hoping to reduce labor costs," said a 42-year-old software developer surnamed Hong, who stopped by the GS25 store around 1 a.m. Thursday to buy snacks on his way back to work.



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