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S.Korea’s traditional markets go high-tech

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Posted August 23, 2013
A manual cash register with a touchscreen tablet, seen at a sesame oil store in Seoul, on August 7, 2013

A manual cash register with a touchscreen tablet, seen at a sesame oil store in Seoul, on August 7, 2013
A manual cash register with a touchscreen tablet offered by SK Telecom is seen at a sesame oil store in Seoul’s Junggok Cheil traditional market, on August 7, 2013. SK Telecom started to offer for free the new devices and necessary training to merchants early this year.

Seoul’s traditional markets—bustling, narrow streets of small vendors selling cheap, fresh produce—have largely opted out of the high-tech charge to make the South Korean capital one of the most wired cities on earth.

But squeezed by big-box stores and dwindling custom, these mom-and-pop operations are slowly going digital, replacing well-thumbed ledgers with tablet computers, and cash pouches with sleek smartphones that can scan credit cards.

Yoo Hyung-Geun has been selling sesame oil at Seoul’s outdoor Junggok Cheil market for the past 14 years.

Two months ago , he finally parted ways with his trusted manual cash register and replaced it with a Samsung Galaxy touchscreen tablet provided free by the country’s top mobile operator, SK Telecom.

The tablet not only functions as an electronic cash register but also features software specifically developed by SK Telecom to help small businesses improve their performance.

At the most basic level, it stores and provides basic sales and inventory data, such as how many bottles of sesame oil—a key ingredient in South Korean cuisine—are sold each day, week or month.

But it also lists and stores the items brought by individual customer, allowing Yoo to engage in some basic target marketing, promoting new products via text messages or e-mails to regular shoppers based on their purchase history.

Read more at: Phys.org

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