If you’ve been to Japan, then you know the Japanese have a remarkable affection for vending machines. They’re impossible to ignore; mind-bogglingly, there’s one vending machine for every 23 people.
Japanese retail giant Uniqlo is looking to bring a little taste of that vending-machine culture to the U.S., and they’re starting at airports. The first Uniqlo “To Go” machine debuted last week at Oakland International Airport in California, dispensing some of the brand’s most popular items.
Take it from a guy who just recently visited Uniqlo to re-up on a few T-shirts, no-show socks (impossible not to lose, seriously) and underwear: selling simple, well-priced basics on-demand is nothing short of brilliant.
In 2012, John Jay, then Uniqlo’s Creative Director, told Fast Company that selling sportswear in America is like selling rice to the Chinese. I tend to agree. So why not try your hand at selling that sportswear in a way that rewards brand loyalists and reaches new ones?
Currently, the machines carry HeatTech tops and UltraLight down jackets, but Uniqlo plans to offer a variety of basics in different colors dependent on the season. Expect to see them at airports (Houston is next) as well as high-traffic shopping malls (L.A. and Queens this month).
All told, this’ll be useful if you’re traveling and forget to pack a basic or two. Otherwise, it’ll be great for picking up essentials without visiting a store or waiting for your online order to ship.
Now if they can figure out to get the rest of Japanese vending machines to the U.S., we’ll be all set.