A Vending Machine that knows what YOU want.

There’s a new machine in Japan that knows before you do what you want. Acure vending machine with tall, vertical eyes gazing around at people waiting for their trains is part of JR East Water Business Co., smart vending machines. My husband spotted one during his recent travels in Japan and at the Tokyo station.

What makes this vending machine smart (or a bit more interesting than models you see in the US) is that there is a camera above the screen that determines the age and gender of a person standing in front of it, which the machine uses to “subtly” offer demographically-targeted drink selections, as well as collect marketing data based on customer’s actual choices. Based on my research no identifiable images or information are stored. That point-of-sale marketing data is pushed to a central management server and used for future product creation, label design, and marketing launches.

What the information has gathered to date includes: Primary customers are men in their 20s and 30s. Predominately men (63%) interact with the vending machine. Men in their 30s start the day with canned black coffee and the same age group category of men who purchased energy drink purchased Lipovitan D in the morning, and Oronamin C and Red Bull in the evening to night. Mineral water and Pocari Sweat are bought most by men in their 30s after midnight.

The information gathered supports how JR East launches products and tests how the label is designed based on exposure to the target audience and actual selection of product.  Fascinating, don’t you think?

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