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USJ Retail Solution Smart payments in the Park using electronic money: Aiming to improve visitor satisfaction

Japanese English

photo:Hiromitsu Sumioka

Hiromitsu Sumioka

Manager, Digital Marketing Section
Marketing Department
Marketing Division
USJ Co., Ltd.


Universal Studios Japan® is one of the five Universal Studios theme parks all over the world. The Park has been providing world-class entertainment services since it was launched in 2001. It introduced “Wonder Money,” electronic money for exclusive use in the Park, on March 31, 2013, to improve visitor satisfaction.


  • Improve the level of convenience in the Park, and create an environment where visitors can focus on experiencing the attractions.

    Universal Studios Japan has received many visitors since its opening in 2001. The number of visitors in 2012 increased by about 1 million year-on-year, and the Park boasts consistent popularity as one of the best super-sized theme parks. Hiromitsu Sumioka of USJ CO.,Ltd. ("USJ") believes that “it is important to offer the most convenient experience possible in the Park in order to provide a space where everyone can truly enjoy themselves.”


    One particular aspect that attracted the attention of USJ was the need to find a simplified and more convenient payment solution at restaurants and shops. Mr. Sumioka observes that “By removing cumbersome procedures and providing an environment where visitors can focus on the attractions in the Park, we believe we can create a more satisfying experience for more visitors and encourage them to visit again.”


    Against such a backdrop, the company focused on introducing “electronic money for exclusive use in the Park.”


    Mr. Sumioka explains that “Use of the Park's restaurants and shops tends to focus around the late afternoon onward, when visitors are on their way home. If we reduce payment time by using electronic money, congestion will be reduced, as will visitor stress levels.”


    The introduction of electronic money will also benefit the company itself. As Mr. Sumioka notes, “If we create a mechanism in the future to harness information such as purchase history, we will be able to provide more accurate suggestions for each customer.”


Integrated Electronic Money SolutionIntegrated Electronic Money Solution
  • Introducing NEC’s “Integrated Electronic Money Solution” to further improve visitor satisfaction.


    On this basis, USJ decided to introduce electronic money. The company chose a prepaid electronic money for exclusive use in the Park based on NEC's “Integrated Electronic Money Solution.” Mr. Sumioka explains the reasons as follows: “We regard electronic money not just as a means of settlement, but also as a means for visitors to enjoy themselves. We decided that NEC has both a deep understanding of our approach and the capability to achieve this.”


    An important requirement was to ensure that electronic money worked in combination with the Park's official smartphone application that has been available since 2012. The application was developed by a subsidiary of NEC, and it was determined that smooth linkage could be achieved as NEC was also participating in the project.


    Mr. Sumioka notes that “Additionally, implementing such a service requires a wide range of technologies, including the development of smartphone applications, payment terminals and a back-end system. We valued the fact that NEC offers a full line-up of solutions covering all of these aspects.”



  • Providing a comprehensive suite of services to implement the electronic money solution


    Wonder Money, the electronic money solution that has been introduced in this case, consists of three main components: “Servers” that manage electronic money settlement data and transaction information, “Mobile Wallet,” a new menu on the official smartphone application, which is used by visitors to charge and spend electronic money via smartphones, and “Electronic Money Terminals” used by sales staff to settle transactions.


    In order to use electronic money, the users first charge up electronic money using the “Mobile Wallet” included in the official smartphone application. Then the cashier scans the bar code displayed on the smartphone with the bar code reader connected to the “Electronic Money Terminal,” and enters the payment amount to complete the payment process. In the future, settlement terminals can be made compliant with NFC, the international standard for contactless communication, by adding contactless IC readers.


  • Reduction in waiting time is expected to increase the amount of money spent and encourage repeat visits


     Mr. Sumioka observes that “This may be the first case where park-exclusive prepaid electronic money using smartphones has been introduced to a theme park.”


    According to Mr. Sumioka, “Reduced waiting time leads to more purchasing opportunities.” It is estimated that the money spent on purchases of goods, food and beverages in the Park will increase In addition, the number of “annual studio pass” holders and the renewal rate are also expected to rise.



  • Aiming to become a Park where everything can be done via a single smartphone


    We plan to introduce a number of measures that make use of Wonder Money. “For example, the service distributing various coupons for restaurants and shops will encourage visitors to come back to the Park,” Mr. Sumioka notes.


    The company ultimately aims to become a park where “visitors can enjoy everything from attractions to shopping using a smartphone.” By providing a smart entertainment environment, the company aims to improve visitor satisfaction and enhance the overall value of the "Universal" brand. The company will continue with these efforts.

Opinions of NEC Staff

photo:Nobuhiro Ide
General Manager, Headquarters for the Promotion of Distribution and Hospitality Solutions

NEC's greatest strengths are the results and expertise we have accumulated since the earliest days of electronic money in Japan. We offer a full line-up of services required for electronic money, from the main systems and settlement terminals to electronic money media, including contactless smart cards, mobile phones and payment applications installed on smartphones.

For this project, the individuals responsible for services and content planning also participated from the planning stage, and we discussed different ideas in formulating the service framework. We continued to make improvements right up to the launch of the service, and we believe that we managed to implement a service that fully met the requirements of our client.


Furthermore, Wonder Money will ultimately enable more advanced services, such as enhancing marketing strategy by using purchase history analysis. We believe that our clear presentation of this future roadmap was also appreciated by the client.

We aim to provide high-quality solutions to many more clients who operate facilities such as theme parks, stadiums and shopping malls globally


The company operates the theme park “Universal Studios Japan,” which opened in 2001. Under the four codes of conduct of “Health and Safety,” “Pursuit of Quality,” “Provision of Information” and “Entertainment,” the company strives to provide a park that is truly enjoyable for each visitor. It aims to be a leading Asian company in the entertainment and leisure industry.

Customer profile

USJ Co., Ltd.

Type of business Entertainment Photo
Address 2-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana-ku, Osaka city, Osaka, Japan
Date of establishment December 1994
Capital 37.1 billion yen
Number of employees 810

(AUG 9,2013)

NEC is an official marketing partner of Universal Studios Japan.
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