Japanese chain FamilyMart trials facial recognition payments

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Japanese convenience store giant FamilyMart has begun trialing facial recognition payment technology in an effort to offset a growing labour shortage.

Around 1000 people have been given access to the first trial of the technology, which was developed by Japanese tech giant Panasonic and has been installed in the chains newly opened store in Yokohama.

Those customers will then register their photo and credit card information and receive a passcode unique to their details.

Once registered, shoppers can simply place their items on the self-checkout machine, which will automatically scan not only their products but their face, allowing them to simply enter their unique passcode to complete checkout.

The 1000 initial testers are understood to be surrounding workers from Panasonic, which operates the new FamilyMart store as a franchisee.

“I am very excited to open this store with Panasonic’s latest technology. We may face some (technological) difficulties, but we must overcome them,” FamilyMart president Takashi Sawada said.

Its facial recognition system hopes to enable the store to operate with a smaller number of staff, and hopes to roll it out to more of its network if the trial proves successful.

It comes amid a declining population in Japan, leading to an increasingly problematic labour shortage for the retail sector, in which numerous retailers have sought to innovate their way out of with similar technologies.

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