FamilyMart and Panasonic Partner to Create Next-generation Convenience Store

Utilizing IoT technologies to realize an evolved store experience where customers want to shop and employees want to work; new store opened on April 2 in Yokohama, Japan

Yokohama, Japan - April 2, 2019 - FamilyMart Co., Ltd. and Panasonic Corporation announced the opening of a new FamilyMart location which will act as a demonstration project to realize the next generation of convenience stores utilizing IoT technologies. The new FamilyMart Saedo Store opened on April 2 and is located in Yokohama city, Kanagawa pref., Japan.

The new store is a joint demonstration project between FamilyMart and Panasonic which aims to realize a brand new concept for the next generation of convenience stores that utilizes IoT technologies and various data to achieve efficient and highly profitable operations as well as creating a store design that can be enjoyed by customers. While exploring the ideal form for the next generation of convenience stores the two companies will be testing out diverse activities and demonstrating various technologies within the store.

FamilyMart operates approximately 17,000 convenience stores across Japan, and based on the slogan of, "FamilyMart, Where You are One of the Family", has been providing lifestyle support services and localized store operations that meet the needs of those in its communities. Corresponding to the diversified needs of its customers, FamilyMart has been promoting a cashless society through barcode payment services; while at the same time has been addressing the societal challenge in Japan of labor shortage by drastically changing its store operations and introducing self-checkout registers. Through promotion of these activities the company aims to both enhance customer friendliness and reduce operating burden of store employees. Going forward, the company will proactively use AI and IoT technologies to create next-generation convenience stores that meet the desires of its customers.

Based on its vision of "Gemba Process Innovation," Panasonic is using it vast expertise and years of experience in the manufacturing industry to bring about innovations in supply chain management for retail stores and warehouses.

By operating this convenience store, Panasonic will utilize its knowhow in customer interaction, employee operations, sales floors, and backyard operation; while also obtaining an in-depth look at the challenges confronting convenience stores. Then by applying IoT, image analysis, facial recognition payment, flowline improvements, data collection & utilization, as well as in-store atmosphere, the company aims to combine its diverse technologies and skills to create solutions which enable enhancements in labor reduction, low cost operations, added value store services, and customer satisfaction. As of April 1, 2018, Panasonic has established a wholly owned subsidiary, Store Business Solutions Co., Ltd., which has concluded a franchise agreement with FamilyMart and will be in charge of the operations of this new convenience store.

Through the operation of this new store, both FamilyMart and Panasonic aim to create solutions that address the societal challenges which confront the retail store industry, and will expand these solutions to FamilyMart's other store locations, thus firmly establishing the next-generation store business based on the customer's standpoint in Japan.

Overview of solutions to be implemented (planned to begin subsequently)

    Facial recognition payment / Physical detection(*1)
  • Content

    Deliverng a new shopping experience through product image processing and facial recognition, which uses deep learning technology to enable the world's highest level(*2) of facial recognition accuracy that can even recognize faces at an angle, wearing glasses or that have changed with age.

  • Effect

    Expansion of store added value services, reduction of labor requirements (provision of new shopping experience, and higher efficiency)

    Work assist system
  • Content

    Use of cameras and sensors to digitize information in the store. Employees use wearable devices which help grasp the state of the store in a timely manner and thus enable accurate work operations.

  • Effect

    Reduction of labor requirements
    Enhacement of store QSC (quality, service, cleanliness)

    Digital place of purchase signs & price tags
  • Content

    Realize greater work efficiency through the use of digital signage and digital price tags to replace the need for production and replacement of printed product info.

  • Effect

    Reduction of labor requirements
    Enhancement of customer royalty

    IoT data marketing
  • Content

    By combining conventional POS data with dwell time heatmaps created from instore cameras and sensors, along with smartphone questionnaire responses, the store can realize management based on actionable data, which leads to flexibility in store layouts and selection of goods that are more convenient for customers.

  • Effect

    Enhanced customer satisfaction, expansion of store added value services (enhacement of product development capability, optimization of store layout)

    Eat-in spaces / in-store atmosphere
  • Content

    By integrating the analog and digital, create a more comfortable store atmosphere that can also provide info in a non-obtrusive way.

  • Effect

    Enhanced customer satisfaction
    New entertainment value for customers

    Mobile orders(*3)
  • Content

    Customers can order and pay for goods via a smartphone app; the orders will then be put together and delivered.

  • Effect

    Expansion of value added services
    Enhancement of customer satisfaction (improved sales, enhanced delivery services)

*1 Only available to Panasonic employees at the initial phase.
*2 Having achieved the world's highest level of facial recognition performance, as certified by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the United States (as of April 2017).
*3 Delivery range limitations at the initial phase.

Overview of Companies Involved

    About FamilyMart Co., Ltd.
  • Representative: President: Takashi Sawada
  • Head office: Tokyo, Japan
  • Established: July 2, 2001
  • Operations: Convenience store business via franchise system
    About Panasonic Corporation
  • Representative: CEO: Kazuhiro Tsuga
  • Head office: Osaka, Japan
  • Established: December 15, 1935 (founded March 7, 1918)
  • Operations: Comprehensive electronic goods manufacturing
    About Panasonic System Solutions Japan Co., Ltd.
  • Representative: President: Tatsuo Katakura
  • Head office: Tokyo, Japan
  • Established: April 1, 2017
  • Operations: System integration
    About Store Business Solutions Co., Ltd.
  • Representative: President: Takuya Miyashita
  • Head office: Yokohama, Japan
  • Established: April 1, 2018
  • Operations: Franchise store operations, demonstration projects, sales support
  • Parent company: Panasonic System Solutions Japan Co., Ltd.

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