Zippin And Koyo Open World’s First Checkout-Free Hotel Store in Yokohama, Japan

By Alice Yeh - February 10, 2021

Since early in 2020, Zippin has been working with its partner, Fujitsu, in Japan to create checkout-free technology solutions for Japanese convenience stores and corporate campuses. Now Zippin’s technology is coming to a new retail format: a hotel convenience store. We believe that this is the world’s first checkout-free store within a hotel. 

Zippin’s partner Fujitsu, the leading systems integrator in Japan, is working with Koyo Group to implement a hotel 'shop and go' store at the Yokohama Techno Tower Hotel. The store, called Green Leaves Plus, opened earlier this year and customers are able to enter the store via smartphone app, or verify their identity using biometric authentication technology which scans their face and palm veins. The opening is part of a multi-phase expansion plan by Koyo to create new convenient foodservice concepts for hospitals. 

Hotels are Ideal Locations for Checkout-Free Retail 

This new checkout-free store in a hotel is the first of its kind, and it won’t be the last. Hotel convenience stores are an ideal retail format for checkout-free technology, because the stores can be kept open at all hours without having to maintain staffing levels, especially in off-peak periods. Tired and hungry hotel guests can get food and drinks from the checkout-free store within the hotel, even if there is no cashier on duty.

Supporting Local Residents and Takeout Meals 

One interesting aspect of the pilot phase for the Koyo store is that the Yokohama Techno Tower Hotel thanks currently has no guests due to COVID restrictions. So all of the shoppers at the Green Leaves Plus store are local residents. 

The hotel is not only selling packaged food and drink; it is also selling takeout meals of bento boxes, a popular portable convenience meal in Japan. The hotel makes bento boxes in-house, and has run a special promotion for people to try the new checkout-free store with a special offer on bento boxes. Checkout-free technology is not just for shelf-stable products; it can also be used to sell freshly prepared meals. 

Combining Checkout-Free and Biometric Authentication 

Zippin’s technology powers the checkout-free experience of the Koyo store at the hotel, and our partner Fujitsu is also providing unique technology with biometric authentication. To get into the Koyo store at the hotel, customers download a smartphone app (“Green Leaves +” app), register their credit cards, and then use a QR code on the app to enter the store. Customers also have the option of registering their biometric information in advance, which allows them to enter the store without using a smartphone by only scanning their palm and face.  

Innovative New Store Formats 

Koyo operates convenience stores and restaurants in more than 500 hospitals, and is working to create new store formats that can be more convenient, comfortable, and fun for customers. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the need for face-to-face contact with store staff has become more important. Koyo also sees an opportunity to expand the cashierless system to hospitals  to serve hospital staff and hospital visitors. These stores will have high efficiency and a more convenient purchasing experience. 

This first hotel convenience store will be a model for how checkout-free technology could work in a hospital setting—where people need 24 hour access to food and drink—without having to require a constant staffing presence.

Zippin is excited to work with Fujitsu to power the checkout-free technology for this new Koyo hotel store. We believe that there is big growth potential for checkout-free retail in Japan. The Green Leaves Plus store at Yokohama Techno Tower Hotel is helping to lead the way to a better retail experience at hotels, hospitals, and other places where people need convenient access to food and drinks.  

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