Japan Takes Vending Machines to New Heights

With Starbucks on every corner, Prime Now in major markets and chatbots on the rise it seems as if you can get anything in an minutes’ time. But in reality, shoppers have to seek out locations or wait (an hour or a few days) to get things that are available at their fingertips (e.g., Amazon Prime). While brands and services strive to have mental availability, some of them lack the physical availability which is key to growing brands and sales.

When it comes to physical availability, Japan’s vending machine scene is a site to behold. Vending machines are making “give it to me now” a reality for much of Japan. According to CNN, “The country has one machine for every 25 people, offering a range of goods from tomatoes and cans of hot coffee to noodle stew, beer and Buddhist charms.” That’s a lot of vending machines and a lot of options on every corner. But what is next? And how can a vending machine stand out?

Drinks firm Dydo Drinco added a talking feature to its machines and even a roulette game that gave shoppers the chance to win a free beverage. But now they are looking to use digital loyalty and gaming to engage and expand their shoppers.

While vending machines have been around for decades, they may be have greater impact in the future (or variations of them) as our shopping culture becomes increasingly impatient. Do you think the North American market will ever accept massive vending like Japan? Or is it a thing of the past like a rogue phone phone bank?

Image Source: CNN