Lawson CEO: Expect almost completely automated kombini in next five years

There was a cool piece in today’s Nikkei (special Monday high-tech supplement) asking Lawson CEO Takeshi Niinami about the future of kombinis in today’s rapidly-advancing world.

Asked about what to expect from Japanese convenience stores (kombini) within the next five years, he laid out his vision: a person will be able to walk into a Lawson, be identified by the mobile payment system in their phone, pick up items on the shelf, and walk out without going to the register. RFID chips on each item will cause sensors at the door to automatically total their purchases and charge it to their mobile wallet.

The real bonus of this setup: Niinami believes that the average Lawson, which requires about 20 employees today, will be able to get by with just five. I, for one, will happily await the day when I don’t have to deal with some shit-ass at the register who thinks I’m an alien. Although I guess I’ll still have to deal with people when I want my bento microwaved…

One thought on “Lawson CEO: Expect almost completely automated kombini in next five years”

  1. Hm, I remember seeing an article in the late 90s about 7-11 experimenting with “無人島” (deserted island) style convenience stores… but they didn’t work since they were more or less based on the honor system. This might be cool though (and very Gibson-esque)

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