Tuesday, February 7, 2012

No. 430: Giving a new function to a vending machine (February 7, 2012)

You can easily locate lots of vending machines in bustling areas in Japan. Facing the saturating market, companies that sell their products through vending machines are giving more functions to their vending machines to differentiate them from others. Ito En, Japan’s leading tea drink maker, will introduce a vending machine that consumes 30% less energy than the existing model. Its present model heats drinks using the heat generated when it cools them. The new model is given the function to bring in heat from outside for higher heat efficiency with an inverter for automatic control of cooling function. It consumes 30% less energy than the present model. Asahi Soft Drinks has introduced a new model equipped with Wi-Fi, which is a public wireless function, that allows consumers to use high-speed Internet communication using their smartphones. They can see the campaign of new products from the company when they access to the Internet.

Kirin Beverage increases its social contribution efforts using its vending machines. The company contributes part of sales from new models to the “Pink RibbonCampaign” that enlighten early discovery of breast cancer. The Coca-Cola group will personalize each of its vending machines to let consumers develop emotional attachments to each vending machine. When a consumer registers a specific vending machine with his mobile phone or smartphone, he can see the avatar of the specific vending machine. If a consumer buys a product from his registered vending machine, we he can get a mail from his vending machine and get a gift. There are 2,500,000 vending machines across the country, and about 30% of total drink sales in volume comes from vending machines in Japan. Sales through vending machine are welcome because products can be sold at a fixed price without discount, but the competition to get a better place for stable sales is growing harder these days.

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