SEOUL, July 2 (UPI) -- South Korean convenience stores are going contact-less and tapping into solar power to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Korea Seven, which owns the country's No. 3 convenience store brand 7-Eleven, said Wednesday it has launched a new "signature" concept store with no sales clerks in downtown Seoul.
Customers do self-checkout, scanning item bar codes and paying via credit card. Entrances and exits are checked through closed-circuit TV and personal data.
7-Eleven tried out automated self-service stores in 2017 for the first time in Korea and is now expanding them amid the pandemic.
"Based on our 'signature models,' we will offer 24/7 services. The new stores also will be able to create new shopping culture in tandem with the non-face-to-face sales trend," Korea Seven CEO Choi Kyung-ho said in a statement.
7-Eleven's bigger competitor, BGF Retail, which runs CU, announced Monday that it will start generating electricity at solar power facilities.
The company established solar panels at its distribution center located about 55 miles south of Seoul, generating electricity for up to 1,400 people.
"Our solar project is a new business model. After checking its commercial values, we plan to expand the solar power facilities to our 30-plus logistics centers across the country," a BGF Retail official said in a statement.
"The revenues will be used to strengthen our competitiveness in the convenience store business."