Uniqlo’s airport vending machine will help correct your packing errors
Ever arrive at the airport and only then realise you forgot to pack your coat? Or wished you’d packed a warmer shirt? Japanese retailer Uniqlo’s new vending machines might offer the ideal solution for such dilemmas.
The Uniqlo To Go machine, the first of which was launched at California’s Oakland International Airport this week, allows travellers to purchase one of the brand’s signature Heattech thermal tops and Ultralight down jackets at the touch of a button, therefore eliminating the need to queue in a shop.
Customers can use a touchscreen to select their clothing of choice, along with their preferred size and colour. Each of the items, which are designed to be warm yet lightweight and easy to pack, is then dispensed from the six-foot-high machines in small boxes or cans.
The retailer hasn’t specified the range of sizes and how many items in total will be available from each of the vending machines, but there will reportedly be a variety of styles and colours offered for both men and women. Any unwanted items can be returned at a shop or by mail, following the brand’s standard return policy.
In the next two months, Uniqlo plans to roll out nine more vending machines at airports and shopping malls in some of its most popular US destinations where its flagship venues are based, including at the Hollywood & Highland Center mall in Los Angeles (available from August 10), Houston Airport (from August 17) and New York’s Queen Center mall (from August 22).
The company has yet to confirm whether there will be any vending machines installed in airports and malls outside of the US.
The latest project isn’t the first time Uniqlo has played with the concept of using vending machines as retail outlets. Back in 2007, the Japanese brand transformed an entire Uniqlo shop in Tokyo’s trendy Harajuku district into a giant vending machine, stocked with cans of T-shirts wall-to-wall.
Japan is home to some bizarre trends and it’s certainly no stranger to vending machines, such as one of its most controversial – underwear vendors. The roadside vending machines caused controversy by claiming to sell used women’s underwear. However, rumour has it that the machines have almost all now been taken out of service, removing temptation for a generation of randy businessmen.
Closer to home, in 2014 the world’s first vending machine with facial recognition technology was unveiled in Britain, which could refuse to vend a certain product based on a shopper’s age, medical record or dietary requirements.