Business through Vending Machine

In Japan, vending machines are commonly used as channels to sell products such as cigarettes, soft drinks, flowers, snacks and rice balls, pastries, and so on.  The ones for cigarettes, soft drinks and snacks are frequently found at offices or factories for their employees.  On streets, the ones for cigarettes and soft drinks can be observed. 

Those vending machines in abroad are in chains so that the machines themselves or the products inside will not be able to be stolen.  Such case is very rare in Japan.   


More than fifteen years ago, when I was in Singapore, the company was to expand vending business in Singapore and Thailand because there were no other safe countries in South West Asia. 


Some people might think that vending business is quite easy as all you can do is to fill any products with low price.  This is true in a way but if you would like to keep growing your profit, you have to make more efforts than just filling in low-priced products.


As I wrote the other day, we should always think about who the target is.  In other words, when we place a vending machine, first thing that we should think about is who would buy and who the competitors are.  For example, what do you observe in the surrounding area; a school, a park, a sports club?  If this is the case, children would be your target and there might be a business potential with vending machines for snacks and soft drinks.  Watch if there is a convenience store.  It would affect your business, though. What about busy (especially at night) downtown streets?  Maybe adult male would be the target and machines for soft drinks, cigarettes or flowers would be suitable (if it’s Ginza area, flowers are not a good idea as there are many flower shops or street vendors open until midnight).


In summary, even when we select vending channel as your “place” for business, we have to always analyze who our customers are and select appropriate products for our customers. 


Furthermore, for soft drink vending machines in Japan, as the machine can be switched to the one for warm drinks, a big assortment change has to be made at least twice a year. 

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