Staff-less Shops

Staff-less convenience stores have been popping up across China since 2017.


These little shipping-container-sized stores don’t have any staff inside and they don’t accept cash.


To get inside you have to use an app called WeChat which verifies your name and phone number so you can’t run away with any of the goods.


To pay for your items you use WeChat or Alipay, another app, which is connect to your bank card.


  1. Staff-less stores reduce the running costs of shops.
  2. Staff-less stores operate 24/7.


I visited the staff-less store near my apartment and despite my lack of Chinese I managed to buy a pack of biscuits without getting locked in!

Here’s a video of my first trip to a staff-less convenience store.

Published by Lettice

Lettice is an avid traveller, volunteer and writer. Follow her blogs for tips on where to go, what to do, and how to get there.

2 thoughts on “Staff-less Shops

  1. Love this video.
    Haven’t seen one myself while I was in China. You use WeChat now?
    Do you mind connecting me? If you still remember me. 😛
    My id is: idyllicwalks
    Feel free to ask me any questions about China or Chinese. Hope you continue to enjoy your time there!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jolie! I could never forget you! I’ve added you on WeChat 😀 The robot shops are here and there. TBH I don’t see them used very often. I don’t know if they will stick around for long.


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