When Dao Khanh Hiep came across an article about shops without clerks in Japan, his first thought was whether it would be possible to run a similar ‘trust shop’ in his hometown, Hanoi.
As the name suggests, a no-keeper shop allows customers to choose their goods and leave money in an unattended box at the checkout counter.
Store owners have 100 percent faith in their customers, believing they will not be let down by their customers' honesty and kindness.
With that belief in mind, Hiep, 33, set up his own ‘trust shop,’ selling chocolate, ice cream, and bottled beverages, on Lieu Giai Street in the Vietnamese capital.
The shop is equipped with automatic doors, which open when customers ring the doorbell.
After stepping into the venue, shoppers can freely choose between sweet products and put money into an unmanned cashier’s box.
Hiep said many customers were surprised at first, but then became intrigued by the way his no-keeper shop works.
“What a nice surprise to see this kind of shop,” Nguyen Hoang Long, a high school student, said. “I think the model should be multiplied.”
The store owner has faith in the success of his business and truly believes in people’s kindness.
He noted, however, that despite having no attendants, the shop does have a surveillance camera system that can be accessed remotely.
There is also a camera at the door equipped with a sensor that can scan customers’ faces and distinguish between first-time and returning shoppers.
Whenever the camera recognizes a new customer, it alerts attendants to instruct buyers via a loudspeaker system.
The store has been open for months and there has yet to be any theft or other worrisome issues, Hiep underlined.
“Young people today have developed a culture of being honest and kind, but there are not enough places for them to do good things,” Hiep said.
“That’s why I opened this store – from this small community we will build a new culture for shoppers everywhere.”
Hiep also shared an unforgettable experience with the no-keeper shop.
“A group of ten young people entered the store just as the Internet was disconnected and all the doors automatically locked them in,” he recalled.
“That incident helped me come up with the solution to install a backup Internet connection for the store.”
Hiep said he wants to open more trust shops in Hanoi, with the Old Quarter as his desired location.