New Social Commerce: Vending Machines

TweetShirt-02It’s no secret that social media is more popular than ever. Twitter in particular is taking the world by storm, boasting hundreds of millions of dollars and a true billion dollar valuation to its credit. It seems that Twitter users can’t get enough of the “micro blogging” service and companies in many different industries are finding bold new ways to meet that demand. One possibility for social media interaction in the not too distant future has to do with the pairing of the vending machine manufacturer and social media-enabled vending machines.

Brands like Old Navy and Nike have zeroed in on an idea that is brilliantly simplistic. Patrons can walk by a Twitter-enabled vending machine, post a tweet about a product or service that the company offers and get some type of reward for their trouble. Old Navy has already begun rolling out these social commerce twitter vending machines in Japan to great success. After posting a tweet about Old Navy brand flip flops, users of the vending machines can actually get a pair of those flip flops to call their own.

Old Navy has had similar success with these types of campaigns in the United States. In years past, the brand had installed 28 machines in strategic locations in major cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Not only did the company get promotion via the tweets, but the media attention also funneled directly into its big summer sale.

According to, these types of digital media vending machines accounted for 3,500 different tweets and 12 million impressions. Though that may not necessarily sound like much for a social networking site with hundreds of millions of users, it’s important to keep in mind that these campaigns were limited in their scope to this initial roll-out. Representatives from the companies involved were very clear that driving traffic wasn’t the goal – building excitement and displaying true innovation in the realm of social media is the prize that they were after and it’s definitely a prize they seem to have obtained.

These social media vending machines are a true example of “out of home advertising” and taking marketing campaigns and word of mouth to bold new heights in a digital age. One of the major factors that brands love about Twitter is that it is a great way to get customers involved in their marketing campaigns. Tweets can be seen by millions of people all over the world, creating the type of brand awareness in an instant that most companies only dream of. If social media campaigns like the type that Old Navy, Westin Hotels and other major brands like Nike are any indication, “social commerce” isn’t an idea that always seems to be just over the horizon – it’s one that is already here.