Japanese vending machines

Step 4 of 5

Use in Japan

Almost all the canned drinks are priced uniformly, meaning the location or time has no influence on the price. The prices you can see on the photo of the vending machine are 140 Yen (1,14 Euro) for a bottle of green tea and 130 Yen (1,06 Euro) for a bottle of barley tea. People don’t buy products at a vending machine to then bring it home; they rather consume it immediately, which means that the location of the machine and the products it contains are the most important factors in determining the number of sales. The vendors believe that customers don’t want to travel the extra distance for a lower price, so they don’t charge different prices.[Parry 1997, p 126] This is of course very convenient for the customer, as they can always expect the same price.

Urban land is expensive in Japan, which makes it difficult for stores to stay in business when a huge part of the revenue goes to paying the rent.[Cf] To work around this problem, companies can place a vending machine on a small piece of land, instead of a store which might make the same gross profit. This way they also save money by avoiding high labor costs, because the store doesn’t need to employ full-time clerks for the shop. The only employee needed is someone who regularly refills the machine, and checks if everything still works. This way the vendor can still make a profit, even on products with low prices.