A customer takes out an alcoholic beverage from Emart24’s AI-based alcohol vending machine. (Emart24)
Emart24 is introducing an artificial intelligence-based alcohol vending machine that would support its fully unmanned operation of convenience stores, the company said Sunday.
Installed at its store headquarters in Seongdong-gu in Seoul, the machine looks like a drink refrigerator and requires customers to scan a QR code issued from a mobile app to verify their age before making purchases.
Payment is only deducted after the customer takes out the alcoholic beverage from the fridge and closes the door, the firm said.
In South Korea, selling alcoholic beverages is strictly regulated, and only those with a license can sell alcoholic drinks to those older than 19, making it mandatory for sellers to check the age of customers.
In January, the government eased some regulations to allow restaurants to install alcohol vending machines under a regulatory sandbox measure.
Emart24 said it is the first convenience store chain to introduce such an AI-based alcohol vending machine since its retail technology affiliate Shinsegae I&C received approval from the Industry Ministry.
“With the regulatory sandbox lifting restrictions, we are working together with Shinsegae I&C to introduce more convenient systems for customers and franchise outlets,” Emart24 said in a press release.
The introduction of the new machine would support the convenience store chain’s plan to make all of its stores run 24 hours -- unmanned during the evening -- the company said.
By Jo He-rim (firstname.lastname@example.org