Coke and NTT DoCoMo

from the i-Mode-Gone-Overboard dept

I thought it sounded like a neat idea when I first heard you could pay for soda from a vending machine using a cellular phone. Now DoCoMo, Coca-Cola, and tech firm Itochu are equipping the standard Coca-Cola vending machine with a printer, sensor, and speaker and then connecting it to DoCoMo?s i-mode system, thus offering Cmode – an information terminal service. Only after completing yet another registration, Cmode users standing in front of the vending machine will be able to collect loyalty points, buy maps, coupons, ring tones, and phone screen savers. Great, take a mobile product, and make it only work in front of a vending machine. The machines will also let you deposit cash into your Cmode account for future use. This all sounds only slightly silly, until you add (yet another) new registration and account into the mix. The power of iMode is the way it allows users to be billed by DoCoMo for content and services. This is done conveniently on the (existing) monthly service bill. Why, in the name of Fuji, would a customer want a separate cash account which can only be used at Coke machines?

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Comments on “Coke and NTT DoCoMo”

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1 Comment
Edwin (user link) says:

It works - in Japan!

You’re obviously at a disadvantage commenting on this story if you’ve never been to Japan! Here, there are vending machines on just about EVERY street corner, in the entrances of department stores and carparks, in office buildings, on university campuses and even surprisingly far into the “wilderness” up mountains or in parks.

This is an idea which I believe will catch on brilliantly over here. After all, i-mode has a huge market penetration, and youngsters (at least) are used to standing in front of machines that do things/print stuff out (witness the massive popularity of “purikura” mini-photo printing machines and chakoberu i-mode tune changing machines)

In the US and Europe it makes much less sense, but that’s not the market being aimed at.

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