Ichiba Welcomes Yakult’s Artificial Intelligence Vending Machine In-store

Ichiba are excited to be partnering with Yakult, offering customers the chance to sample the iconic Japanese fermented milk drink using the very latest technology directly in-store. The newly opened store in Westfield London, Shepherd’s Bush, will play host to Yakult’s state of the art Artificial Intelligence Vending machine for 10 days from the 31st August until 9th September, and Yakult will also be available to buy in-store.

With Ichiba’s diverse offering to customers, the Yakult Vending Machine enhances the customer-focused experience which offers dining, shopping and Japanese cuisine and culture, all with an element of theatre.

The machine itself aims to offer a slice of Japan through an engaging experience that sees users learn words in the Japanese language to receive their free bottle of Yakult. Using real time natural language processing, the machine interprets what users are saying and rewards them. With integrated touch screen, camera, microphone and speakers, it can go as far as detecting when someone is walking by and looking at it, thereby triggering the experience to begin. The users simply need to touch the screen to choose the Japanese word they want to learn, repeat it until they get it right, select the product they prefer, collect it and enjoy their little bottle of science.

Tak Tokumine, CEO of Japan Centre, says: “We’re really excited to welcome Yakult in-store and work with them on this exciting project. As a brand with such a strong Japanese heritage, it’s brilliant to be able to offer our customers another new retail experience, whilst giving them the chance to learn more about Japanese culture.”

The Yakult Vending Machine adds to Ichiba’s main food hall which features food stations dedicated to freshly prepared and cooked food including ramen, curries and sushi.

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