Photo/Illutration A drink vending machine available for a new subscription service, which typically bears the Coke ON Pay sticker, is seen in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward. (Takumi Wakai)

Coca-Cola (Japan) Co., which has seen sales at its vending machines plummet as fewer people venture out amid the COVID-19 pandemic, is hoping for a bounce back by offering customers discounts through a subscription service.

Customers who sign up for the service on the Coke ON smartphone app and shell out a monthly 2,700 yen ($24.80) fee can buy one drink a day without paying in cash.

That means each drink will cost about 90 yen if customers get one drink every day for a month, instead of the regular price of between 100 and 160 yen, saving up to about 2,100 yen.

The company, Japan’s largest beverage vending machine operator, is making the Coke ON Pass service available at 340,000 of all 880,000 Coca-Cola vending machines nationwide that are compatible with the firm’s Coke ON Pay electronic payment function.

Subscribers can dispense the cans or bottles of drinks they want by holding their smartphones with the app close to a vending machine. The app lets them know which machines can be used in the service, according to Coca-Cola representatives.

Coca-Cola believes the service will be a hit with people who routinely buy drinks at outdoor vending machines, and has attained the initial target of having 100,000 subscribers by the end of the year.

As sales of drinks at vending machines have plunged in business districts and event venues during the pandemic, their operators have been reducing their numbers and taking other means to slash costs.

Coca-Cola plans to raise the number of the vending machines available for customers to use its subscription system, company representatives said.