Family Mart Taiwan opens second smart convenience store

7-Eleven Taiwan continues 24-hour operations despite shortened hours in Japan

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Taiwanese convenience stores introducing AI.

Taiwanese convenience stores introducing AI. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — After 7-Eleven Japan Co. announced Monday (Oct. 21) that it had decided to shorten operating hours at some of its locations due to Japan's labor crunch, store operators in Taiwan said their stores would remain open around the clock, with Family Mart introducing artificial intelligence (AI) at select locations.

Convenience store giants in the country, including 7-Eleven and Family Mart, said that to satisfy the needs of Taiwanese customers, it makes more sense to continue 24-hour operations. To limit the impact of the falling birthrate and workforce shortage, Family Mart, in particular, is incorporating smart technologies, such as AI and internet of things, into some of its franchise stores, reported CNA.

Following the opening of its first smart convenience store in Tainan Science Park, Family Mart launched its Taipei counterpart on Tuesday. The smart stores are fitted with 5G WiFi, AI shelves, VR interfaces, interactive projection screens, and robots to enhance customers' shopping experience, reported iThome.

The Family Mart Smart Store Taipei also boasts facial recognition technology and is capable of automatic equipment inspections. According to Yahoo News, the retailer is planning to introduce AI vending machines that would allow customers to purchase hot lunches and beverages without help from the staff.