A Visit to Green Lawson: Experience Service By An Avatar At Japan’s Futuristic Convenience Store

green lawson

In the heart of Tokyo’s Toshima Ward lies an innovative twist on the traditional convenience store, a singular eco-conscious experiment named Green Lawson. 

Unlike its conventional counterparts, Green Lawson is distinguished by a steadfast commitment to environmental sustainability and an inventive approach to its operations.

In this unique enterprise, one will not encounter the typical display of room-temperature or chilled bento boxes; instead, the venue has chosen to exclusively stock frozen bentos. 

I discovered that these meals are warmed upon order in the in-house kitchen, aiming to significantly cut down on food wastage.

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The store’s three-step mobile ordering system for a bento is refreshingly simple:

  1. Scan a designated QR code
  2. Make a cashless payment
  3. Collect the order from the service counter

In line with its eco-friendly ethos, Green Lawson forgoes distributing any plastic bags or utensils. Instead, the baskets for shopping are fashioned from recycled materials. 

Moreover, social responsibility is encouraged via a “Food Drive” section where customers can donate surplus food, and a “Reuse Collection Box” prompts the recycling of paper bags to transport purchases.

Yet, perhaps the most intriguing feature of Green Lawson is the employment of avatars that replace traditional in-store staff. About 30 individuals remotely pilot these virtual assistants from their homes, covering various shifts. 

This system not only addresses labor shortages but also creates job opportunities for those with disabilities, the elderly, and people residing in remote areas.

The store pairs technological innovation with warmth and human touch. 

For example, when purchasing age-restricted items like cigarettes or alcohol, customers pick their choice, take it to a self-checkout, and verify their age with a driver’s license or My Number card.

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On my visit, I experienced a hiccup while using the self-checkout machine to buy cigarettes. Despite the instructions, “Please reinsert the card,” leading to a few unsuccessful attempts, I remained patient. 

Finally, an avatar sprang into action, guiding me to an elusive orange touch button on the cash register screen that I initially overlooked.

Though my interaction with the avatar started with confusion and a touch of self-consciousness, it eventually provided the assistance I needed. Yet, this episode illustrated the potential for smoother communication and highlighted the room for refinement in the avatar-customer interface.

In my exploration of Green Lawson, I uncovered an admirable blueprint for the future – one that harmoniously blends technological advancement with environmental consciousness and inclusive employment. 

As the processes become more streamlined with time, I foresee this model gaining traction and possibly revolutionizing how we perceive convenience stores. 

With this pioneering step exceeding mere hologram registers and robotic stocking innovations, the future for Japanese convenience stores shines brightly.

Understanding Avatar-Operated Service at Green Lawson

Innovative technology at Green Lawson allows employees to remotely manage avatar representations at the store. These avatars appear on screens and are operated in real-time by staff who may be located elsewhere. 

They interact with customers through two-way cameras, providing a new level of convenience while maintaining a human touch.

Offerings at Green Lawson Managed by Avatars

Green Lawson provides a variety of products typical of what you’d expect at a convenience store, alongside some environmentally friendly options. 

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The store is known for its focus on reducing the environmental impact, offering a selection of goods that promote a sustainable lifestyle.

Unique Shopper Interactions at Green Lawson

Shopping at Green Lawson differs from traditional stores mainly due to the avatar staff who guide customers through their shopping experience.

The uniqueness lies in the digital human interaction, which adds a futuristic twist to the regular convenience store visit.

Green Lawson Store Hours

I manage operations around the clock—Green Lawson is open 24/7, ensuring customers can enjoy the convenience afforded by the avatar technology at any time of the day.

How to Engage with Avatars at Green Lawson

Customers can interact with the avatars just as they would with human staff: by speaking to them and responding to their prompts. The avatars are designed for easy and intuitive interaction to assist with purchases and store inquiries.

Impact of Avatars on Retail Employment in Japan

Avatar-staffed stores like Green Lawson have significant implications for the retail sector, particularly in how they accommodate employment. 

These stores help create opportunities for individuals who may have difficulties working in a conventional store environment, such as those with mobility issues, thus expanding the workforce and fostering inclusivity.

What do you think?

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