South Korea with consumers who are familiar with unmanned and digital payment systems has some 600 unmanned stores as of January 2021. The popularity of robot stores skyrocketed in 2020 when the first wave of a coronavirus pandemic swept across South Korea. Consumers felt more comfortable using small-sized unmanned shops than visiting megastores because they could avoid human contact.
Emart24 said in a statement on July 1 that the operator of 5,500 convenience sortes would increase the number of "hybrid" semi-unmanned stores. There are about 150 hybrid stores that use digital kiosks for payment until 6:00 a.m after 11:00 p.m.
Emart24 shop owners can choose to operate their stores 24 hours a day or to close late at night. Only about 20 percent of stores are full-time. Hybrid store operators use smartphones after switching to an unmanned mode. They can detect any abnormal activity with a security system through a smartphone app. Customers can authenticate themselves and gain access to the store using a dedicated QR code.
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