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Japanese convenience stores offer map, photo printing to gain edge
Publication Date : 16-06-2014
Major convenience store chain operators are competing to provide a wider variety of services, including map and photo printing, by installing multifunction copiers at their outlets.
The move constitutes part of recent efforts to attract more customers, such as through the sale of freshly brewed coffee and other services.
The multifunctional copiers can also be used to buy lottery tickets and obtain copies of resident registration certificates.
Since late April, Seven-Eleven Japan Co. has been providing a new service that allows customers to print A3-sized maps of 43 sightseeing spots in the nation—including Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, and Gion, Kyoto Prefecture—for 100 yen (about $1) each. The service is targeted at tourists.
Fuji Xerox Co.’s multifunction copiers, which are used at 7-Eleven stores, offer a selection of about 50,000 types of data and images, such as musical scores and portraits of famous pop stars, each priced at up to several hundred yen. An increasing number of customers have also been using the machine to print photos taken with smartphones. The service is priced at 30 yen per photo.
An employee of Fuji Xerox said, “People enjoy the convenience of being able to use our printers at any time.” As the machines have been drawing more customers to the stores, Seven-Eleven Japan says it plans to add more features to them.
Other convenience store chains such as Lawson Inc., FamilyMart Co. and Circle K Sunkus Co. have responded by offering Sharp Corp.’s multifunction copiers. Customers can now print 2L-sized photos, an upgrade from the previous maximum L size. The printers can also provide copies of newspapers dated on customers’ birthdays and astrological forecasts. According to Sharp Corp., the number of customers who utilize the machines has been steadily increasing.