Automated retail is a self-service category in the form of standalone machines located in high traffic areas such as airports and malls and convenient stores. In an era of growing mobility, the consumers demand for easy access to products and services anytime and from anywhere. The global retail industry is growing and developing with extraordinary changes. The retailers need advanced systems in order to balance the market needs such as cost reduction, result accuracy and quick processing. Automation can control the inventory flow of a retail store, departmental store, supermarket, or a mall. Retail automation is the turn key solution to these requirements by providing automated kiosk machines and point of sale terminals which include all the necessary hardware, technology as well as services. The continuous growth of these self-service machines such as kiosk, and the self-checkout system is increasing the overall growth of retail automation market. The point of sale terminals that include barcode scanners, cash registers and receipt printer are strongly contributing to the retail automation market growth. The retail automation is a boiling trend in the major economies such as the U.S., China, Germany, and so on.
With automated kiosks, consumers select the products and pay for purchases using the touchscreen interfaces. The automated retail exhibits a strong possibility of using underutilized space in the stores that are operating on a thin margin in the market. In retail, automation kiosks are used for vending, DVDs, coffee, beauty products, fresh foods, gift cards, coin counting as well as photography. In February 2013, Coinstar by Outerwall, Inc. introduced PayPal-integrated coin-counting kiosks that allowed the customers to deposit or withdraw money directly from their PayPal account for online shopping. In 2013, the company also launched several new ventures segment such as Crisp Market for quick service food, Rubi Coffee, a coffee kiosk, and Star Studio, a photo booth kiosk. Even Redbox tickets kiosks from Coinstar got a good response, as they enabled higher DVD volume as well as easy kiosk maintenance. Recently the demand for beauty sampling kiosks are growing in a significant manner as these are beneficial for both customers and retailers. Consumers prefer it because the products can be tried before buying and retailers can lift their category sales with this.
The companies in automated retail market generally carry out acquisition strategy for expanding their footprint. They also maintain the customer loyalty with consistent technological advancements in the machines. For instance, in October 2014, the Outerwall, Inc. launched Redbox Play Pass Loyalty Program that increased the customer engagement as well as its rental frequency. In July 2013, the company acquired ecoATM for US$ 350 Mn, which is self-serve kiosk system for purchasing used mobile phones and MP3 players. Also, in June 2015, AVT, Inc. another automated retailing systems manufacturer, announced the launch of a new Endcap Retailer System which are to be used in retail locations in order to hold, display, and sell high value products in a secured manner. The major companies dominating the retail automation market are Outerwall, Inc., AVT, Inc. Verifone, Pricer, Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, Inc., NCR Corporation, First Data Corporation, Honeywell Scanning & Mobility, Zebra Technologies and Ingenico Group.
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