SINGAPORE - Convenience stores in Japan are well known for the multitude of services they offer customers - from bill payment and sending and receiving mail, to photocopying, faxing and booking airline and concert tickets.
Shoppers in Singapore need not fret, as convenience stores here are also stepping up with an array of errands that can be accomplished under one roof.
The two major 24-hour chains are Cheers, run by NTUC FairPrice, which has 129 stores; and 7-Eleven, managed by the Dairy Farm Group's Cold Storage, which has 424 outlets.
On Tuesday (Nov 22), Cheers outlets at Esso petrol stations began selling ready-to-eat meals from local eateries like The Soup Spoon and PastaMania.
Here are five things you can do at your nearby convenience store.
1. WITHDRAW CASH
In 2013, DBS and POSB announced that customers who made a purchase at 7-Eleven stores would also be able to withdraw cash. OCBC Bank and UOB followed suit in 2016.
This means that cardholders from all local banks can make withdrawals of between $10 and $100 while picking up everyday items.
2. PAY BILLS
Besides self-service AXS kiosks, bill payments can be made over the counter at local convenience stores too.
These include utilities, credit card and phone bills from all three major telcos, and even hospital bills. All of these bills can be settled at 7-Eleven stores.
3. BUY PLANE TICKETS
After you book tickets on budget carrier Jetstar, you can head down to 7-Eleven stores to make your payment.
Competitor AirAsia offers this service in convenience stores in neighbouring countries like Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, but not in Singapore.
4. SEND PARCELS
Customers can send parcels of up to 5kg to overseas destinations at any Cheers store, thanks to a tie-up with courier company DHL.
The mail is collected on weekdays and Saturdays.
The Singapore arm of Japanese delivery service Yamato Transport also accepts local mail of up to 25kg at 7-Eleven outlets.
Customers who use the Ta-Q-Bin service at 7-Eleven even enjoy a $1 discount on the shipping rate.
5. SHOP ONLINE
In 2014, courier UPS announced that customers could retrieve packages from online retailers at certain 7-Eleven outlets at Shell petrol stations.
Fashion e-retailer Zalora has also offered customers the option of picking up their purchases from 7-Eleven stores of their choice, while online marketplace Qoo10 announced in 2013 that its customers could pay for their online orders at 7-Eleven stores.