Retail Vending Machines Poised for a Smart Upgrade


  • Published On : Feb 27, 2020

Vendors are leaving no stone unturned to scour novel ways of enhancing customer experience. Intelligent vending machines are emerging as a one stop solution for cost-effectiveness and convenience. With robust and progressive advancements in digitization, vending machines are maximally utilizing store space and smartly dispensing products in exchange for money. Conventional vending machines are now undergoing a paradigm shift with radical breakthroughs in technology. Smart sensors and AI are shape-shifting the way consumers are paying and purchasing. Their use has brought transformative opportunities to the retail space and greatly enhanced profit margins.

How AI is driving the Smart Vending Machine Market?

AI is rapidly automating retail by offering intelligent customization. Many software development companies are coming up with cutting edge facial recognition applications that are paving the way for an endearing customer experience. Intelligent signage systems are integrating AI, data analytics and machine learning to give smart recommendations on the basis of consumers’ preferences and previous buying behaviour.

Recently PepsiCo made headlines by entering into a partnership with Roby Technologies to innovate and develop a self-driving, intelligent vending machine. The machine called as ‘snackbot’ dispenses cold brews like iced teas, coffee and chips. AI is helping propel this bot to different designated areas across various university campuses. These instances clearly highlight the growing popularity of intelligent vending machines and represents an opportunity for industry players to explore unchartered territories.

Industry Players Cashing in on Energy Saving Vending and Sensor Technology

Device management applications are changing the intelligent vending machine market landscape. These have enabled vendors to detect, diagnose and repair machines remotely. Japan for instance has pioneered the use of smart vending machines that use airtight doors and vacuum insulated materials to ensure that beverages stay cold in the daytime without the need for refrigeration, thus reducing energy bills.

Built in sensors in intelligent vending machines are collecting and collating a vast amount of data including the machine’s inventory. These machines use intelligence to monitor their own stock in order to make smart inventory decisions. For instance, the machine will stop taking orders from customers in case of temperature drops thus reducing chances of waste and incurring additional costs.

Retail Operations and Analytics get a Face Lift with Vending Machines

Surveys have revealed that a large majority of consumers view technology as a way to improve operations and efficiency at malls and retail outlets. Technology can provide a timely succour to reduce foot traffic and inventory errors. Vending machine inventory management through a robust network connection allows trend mapping and test marketing. Through sharp analytics these machines are able to record sales and ensure timely product movement thus incurring cost savings in a tight-margin industry. Intelligent vending machines are also reducing theft as costlier items can be easily stowed away and obviates the need to tag items which is more expensive.

Proliferation of Product Offerings

Besides technology, the versatility and general appeal of intelligent vending machines is also growing. The product portfolio is rapidly diversifying to include textiles and nutritious snacks for health conscious consumers. This is allowing stakeholders to optimally display their own unique brand. Legislations are getting stricter with authorities making it mandatory for smart vending machines to dispense products with clean labels. Soap makers, bike sellers and music stores are finding vending machines a useful medium for distributing their wares. With people in urban areas projected to grow, the appeal of intelligent vending machines is not likely to abate anytime soon.

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