Those stores really are everywhere.

To call the convenience store business in Japan “competitive” is an understatement. This battlefield is home to a wide range of chains dominated by the big three: 7-Eleven, Family Mart, and Lawson. Their rapid expansion is already being challenged by a lack of labor to man the thousands of stores currently operating, so it appears Lawson is now showing interest in the virtual landscape of the metaverse.

At Virtual Market Winter 2021, the convenience store will move onto a corner of Parareal Akihabara, a digital recreation of the otaku mecca, right down to the local station’s interior.

▼ Parareal Akihabara

Of course, since it’s in virtual reality, you can’t just walk in and get a pack of gum or make copies. Instead, this will be more of a Lawson booth in which 15 of their most notable products such as onigiri will be on display with 3-D models, photographs, and explanations.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t end up with something good in real reality too! The virtual Lawson has three special experience areas that your avatar can interact with. Since it’s getting near the end of the year, guests will be able to build their own virtual Lawson Christmas cake by choosing festive toppings. Doing so will also enter you into a contest to win a free Premium Roll Cake from a real Lawson store.

Similarly, visitors can also deep fry their own Karaage-kun chicken and put it in a package with their avatar’s face on it. Completing this experience will enter you into a contest to win a coupon for a free order of real Karaage-kun.

▼ Don’t forget the virtual hand sanitizer!

There’s also a virtual self-serve coffee machine where you can pour yourself a virtual cup of virtual joe and walk around Parareal Akihabara with it in your hand like a true VR hipster. Once again, by simply completing this task you can become eligible to win a real cup of coffee from a real Lawson later on.

Furthermore, fans of VTubers might have already learned that this particular Lawson will be staffed by some famous faces. Ruri Asano, the Omega Sisters, and Aoi Fuji will be acting floor managers and assisting customers while Virtual Market Winter 2021 is being held, from 4 to 19 December.

Virtual Market began in 2018 and has been growing rapidly ever since, having especially picked up traffic from the major dojinshi convention Comiket that had to be canceled several times due to COVID-19. In February of this year, they even grabbed a Guinness World Record for most booths at a virtual reality market event (1,104), and are now getting that attention of large corporations like Lawson.

Be sure to stop by if you happen to be in the virtual neighborhood. And if you need to make an avatar, we might be able to help you there too!

Source: Virtual Market Winter 2021, PR Times
Images: PR Times

● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!