World Coffee Press

Japanese Coffee Vending Machines


In Japan coffee drinkers are getting tempted to buy a cup of joe by a virtual friend.

We have looked at geo-targeted ads last week, and how that technology could soon become an industry standard, but the Japanese have a warmer way of dishing out automated sales messages when it comes to their coffee culture.

Available on Android and iOS, the Hanaseru Jihanki Georgia app (Georgia the Talking Vending Machine) woos potential customers by sending out automated messages that are prompted from nearby vending machines.

There are a huge number of coffee shops in Japan, with a number of fantastic outlets in Tokyo, but purchasing your caffeine hit from a vending machine remains a popular option as commuters make their peak-hour travels. There are around 5.5 million of them in the country.

Once you install the piece of software on your smartphone, you will be able to choose one of six virtual females who will then softly sell you on the idea of parting with your cash in return for a can of coffee. ‘You’ve worked hard today’ a message may read, ending with a plea to ‘take it easy for a while.’

The six women, described as coffee shop ‘managers’, are based on real, famous women. One, for example, is modelled upon Aoi Tamagi, a 21-year-old TV weather announcer.

Behind the app is Coca-Cola who sell over twenty varieties of canned coffee under its Japanese subsidiary brand of Georgia. The app has been so popular in the island nation that it topped the Google Play entertainment charts at the tail end of last year.

Users are expected to scan QR codes that are located on the vending machines that they generally frequent to initiate the contact.

And it isn’t just sales based messages that are sent via this platform, useful daily tips are conveyed too: ‘You might need an umbrella today’ is one pre-set text message amongst many that are triggered by inclement weather forecasts.

Users can also reply to these notifications, effectively communicating with a static vending machine.


photo: Chris Yiu (Flickr), used under creative commons

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