In Japan, there are more than 50,000 convenience stores. Major operators are Seven Eleven, Family Mart and Lawson. Most convenience stores are open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
Strong competition among the companies constantly produces new innovative products and services by using technology.
■ Gathering data
In order to increase their sales, they always gather various data by using their registers connected to the center servers.
A staff at a register is said to enter age and gender of a customer at the time of payment. Data such as purchased items, prices, time and payment categories are automatically sent to the center servers.
These demographic data are used to improve their products and services.
They also offer a wide range of services with various IT machines.
...Bill Payment: including utility, cell phone and insurance bills.
...Delivery Services: It is possible to drop off or pick up deliveries, such as parcels.
■ Planning to introduce electronic tags
According to recent news, they are planning to introduce electronic tags by 2025.
The electronic tags are attached to all products they sell at their manufacturers.
Customers can recognize the total price of items what they buy by putting items into a shopping basket and pay at a self-cashier by themselves. Shop managers and the central computer can always know the inventory.
■ Example of products developed by convenience stores
Eating ehomaki, special sushi role, in early February was a local custom around Osaka until the 1990s. The spread of ehomaki started with a sales campaign by Seven Eleven. They were so successful. Seven Eleven alone sells more than 5 million ehomaki each season.
As other examples, in winter, they sell a hot pot dish called oden. In summer, they sell sets of small fireworks.
The Japanese convenience stores are always improving their products and services using new technology.