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This also includes anything that affects your customer's experience. Marketing isn't all ads and promotions. It's why we split consumers into demographics by interest, age, gender, and location in an attempt to capture their attention. Satisfied customers are repeat customers. Influencing their decision to make a purchase by suggesting they can get precisely what they need relatively easily is a route to making a sale. It's simple - you see what the customer needs and then provide what they need.
By that logic, vending machines are the work of a divine agency. Satisfying a customer's needs are the reason these machines exist. (and businesses make a good amount of money, too!) There are many reasons these machines fulfill their purpose so well. These reasons are also why Japanese vending machines, in particular, stand-out amongst all others.
Designed Precisely For the Customer
Has this happened to you?
You go to use a vending machine and one of these three things happen:
- It doesn't have the product you want in stock
- It has prices you're not willing to pay
- It malfunctions after a purchase, eating your money or giving you the wrong product
This happens a lot to me in America, to the point where I just avoid using vending machines. My experience in Japan was completely different.
Japanese vending machines are easy-to-use. They can take coins, cash, or cards. The machines have a clearly visible change return lever and the machines accept most types of coins. Prices are clearly displayed. They are well-lit and it's easy to see which button to press for your desired ion, even if you can't read the language.
If you can't read Japanese, you may not know what exactly is in that can you're buying, but you'll get exactly what you ed!
All of them are trustworthy and reliable - hardly ever eating your funds. Japanese technology is built to last to withstand the elements (including earthquakes and typhoons). Touch screen machines are starting to become a little more common in high-traffic areas. Some machines have a little slot machine on them for a chance at a free drink with . Prices are typically low and special ¥100 (roughly $0.90) machines can be found if you look around.
Some of these machines even have attached recycling containers for the easy disposal of cans and PET bottles. In a country where finding a public-use trash can is a challenge, this is a useful addition.
All of these features culminate into the perfect device for dispensing products high in demand. They are highly visible and often in high-traffic areas, but not noisy. They are always around when you need them, but not overpopulated leading to being neglected. They entice you with their simple colors and images on the machine, but also capable of fading into the background.
The Customer has Options
In this machine you can get canned coffees, orange juice, vitamin drinks, energy drinks, green tea, soda, sports drinks, grape juice, tea, and water... And this is just one machine!
There are options for hot or cold drinks, such as hot or iced coffee. Soup can be purchased in a drinkable form for a light snack. Feeling like having an adult beverage? Beer can also be purchased from these machines. You won't see beer vending machines in an open street, but you may seem them in hotels next to ice machines! even though the drinking age is 20.
You can buy tobacco from special vending machines that require a special card to purchase.
Why stop there? Purchase some umbrellas, batteries, newspapers, surgical masks, blessed charms, hand-written scary stories, underwear (new, not used), neckties, commemorative coins, condoms, and adult toys.
As nice as it is to have some variety of goods, the most common thing to be sold are beverages. You can hardly walk a block without seeing one or two vending machines.
They Require Little Effort to be Successful
Would you sell ice cream in a blizzard? Of course not!
The culture of Japan is for vending machines to flourish. Japan has a lot of dense, highly populated areas. Cities like Tokyo and Kyoto have huge amounts of people living tightly together. Public transportation and walking mean you might want to pick up a hot coffee for a cold walk, or a cold soda for a hot train ride home. Even in rural communities vending machines can be utilized.
Quiz: Is this English correct?
Japan is a safe country. Crime detection and conviction rates are extremely high. Vending machines aren't often vandalized or damaged. They stay clean and useful for many years.
Japan is still a cash-based society. Coins with high buying power are frequently used so it doesn't take 6 coins to buy something - it may only take one or two coins. Those coins in your pocket actually have value for something! There are also reloadable cards like the Suica card that can be loaded with money and used on vending machines or ticket machines if you don't want to use coins or cash.
The machines don't require you to interact with another human being. Automation is just another part of the convenience you get when you use a vending machine.
Why walk into a supermarket to buy a drink when you can simply purchase one from a machine out front? People will do this even though they will pay more for using the vending machine. It's all about convenience.
Have you used a vending machine from a different country before? Are you a frequent user of vending machines? Why or why not?