To speed up service for customers from overseas, Shibuya 109 and 109 Men’s have introduced a new duty-free POS system called RefundPro.
While the hike in the sales tax from 5% to 8% affected domestic retail sales, tourists are exempt and can claim the tax back from their purchases if they show their passport. However, the process is often carried out at a separate counter and may take a few minutes. This new system streamlines the transaction.
The customer scans their passport and enters the necessary information directly into the device, rather than writing by hand as is the normal procedure. Moreover, the device can then store details like purchase name and type, nationalities of purchasers, and purchase time, which will help retailers develop further inbound tourist services.
Co-developed by a subsidiary of Tokyu, which owns the 109 chain, RefundPro will be introduced in 17 stores in Shibuya 109 and 8 stores in 109 Men’s from September 16th. There are 51 stores in Shibuya 109 and 19 in 109 Men’s that offer tax-free sales to tourists. Tax-exempt sales account for 5% of the stores’ total sales.
Due to the weakening of the yen, Tokyo has seen a massive influx of inbound tourism, particularly from China. Many of the visitors make large shopping trips to Shinjuku and Ginza, and the electronics stores and department stores are packed with crowds of non-Japanese shoppers. Even drug stores are experiencing a boom in trade and have a separate cash register and counter for making a tax-free purchase.
The Asian tourists are usually buying products they cannot purchase cheaply in their home country and at times buy so much they can be seen packing whole suitcases with items outside the stores. These may be for personal consumption or resold via online auctions back in China.