SEOUL, March 22 (Korea Bizwire) — LG Uplus Corp., a major South Korean telecom operator, said Monday it has launched its first store that operates without the help of retail workers, joining other mobile carriers to offer services that minimize physical contact amid the coronavirus pandemic.
LG Uplus’ new store in Seoul’s central ward of Jongno incorporates automation technology, such as digital kiosks that allow customers to change their data plans and buy new phones or USIM cards without the help of store workers.
Customers are given QR codes once they enter the store, and they can use the code to receive their purchases through a storage locker.
LG Uplus said the store operates all day and night with assistance from an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, while physical customer service is available during the day.
The telecom operator plans to open additional unmanned stores in Busan and Daejeon in the first half of the year, and also in Daegu and Gwangju in the second half.
LG Uplus has recently bolstered its digital retail services, such as launching live shopping broadcast shows on its online store last July, which allows users to directly interact with shopping hosts via live chats.
Rival telecom operators have also offered services that reduce physical contact amid the pandemic.
Top carrier SK Telecom Co. launched its new flagship store late last year in western Seoul, which features an unmanned zone, where users can purchase or sell phones through digital kiosks, and receive pay plan recommendations via artificial intelligence.