Vending machines are a cultural phenomenon in Japan.
They are more than just handy tools to dispense snacks and beverages, rather they are embedded in the daily lives of every Japanese.
You can find vending machines in every nook and corner of the nation, from streets to temples, parks, and even on the mountain trails.
Even in terms of products, Japan is selling flowers, umbrellas, car accessories, and nearly anything and everything in vending machines.
However, despite strong technology sharing between India and Japan from bullet trains to nuclear power, India lags much behind Japan in the field of automatic retail.
Let us explore the reasons behind this.
Why Doesn’t India Have Vending Machines Like Japan?
1. Cultural Differences
Japan has a long culture of vending in their retail sector.
More importantly their consumer behaviour values convenience and efficiency over and above everything.
Therefore, vending becomes a super viable method of retail for them. Moreover, as a technology driven country people are also open to rapid changes if such changes enhance their user experience.
Such is not the case in India. Our consumers are deeply rooted in the system of trust and the overall business sentiment is averse to risk taking.
In this context, it is difficult to shift the long-rooted trust of people in the brick-and mortar shops towards an iron-based machine.
A strong preference for personal interactions and haggling is also another reason why vending machines are not that popular in India.
2. Economic Factors
Even economically, Japan has a robust economy with a high per capita income.
So, naturally people have more money to spend on convenience items from vending machines.
India on the other hand, has a diverse economic landscape. A large population still lives in poverty and faces digital illiteracy.
In the age of automation and cashless payments, this has become a barrier to using vending machines in Indians.
3. Regulatory and Security Constraints
Japan has a well-established regulatory framework that ensures the safety and quality of products sold through vending machines.
The country also has a low crime rate, contributing to a sense of security of the machine.
In India, the regulatory environment can be complex and changes from state to state. In this context, ensuring safety, hygiene, and security in vending machines can be challenging.
However, strict regulatory oversight of FSSAI and robust vending machines are reducing such challenges in our country.
4. Consumer Behaviour
Japanese consumers are accustomed to using vending machines for a wide range of products so they have trust in the technology.
Indian customers on the other hand still have reservations about the quality and authenticity of products sold in vending machines.
But if you take an eagle’s eye view of the changing retail landscape in India. When you witness the JAM trinity (JanDhan, Aadhar and Mobile), the UPI Revolution and the push by the Government to escalate the technological revolution in India, you realise that there is no better time to start a vending machine business in India than now.
Because the future of retail is going to be automation and vending machines are going to be the face of it.