Automated Retail and the Future of Interactive Vending and Dispensing Kiosks

Interactive vending is not a new concept. Brands such as Apple, Proactive and Benefit have made their products available via automated dispensing for years in airports and malls, where space is at a premium and the cost per square foot to open a physical store is high. What’s most interesting about automated retail has more to do with how it’s changing and adapting within a consumer culture that demands quality, convenience and high levels of available customization from their purchase interactions.

row of vending machines

Examples of Vending and Dispensing Kiosks and How They Are Changing

Vending machines have long been considered the home of, at best, food that will keep one from starving when nothing else is available. Pretzels, cheese crackers, candy bars, chips, various cold bottled and canned beverages; possibly stale coffee or 3-day-old ham sandwiches. Definitely not gourmet selections. No one really wants to eat out of a vending machine, right? But this is rapidly changing. Take Los Angeles’ Sprinkles Cupcakes bakeries -- they’ve opened 24-hour cupcake vending machines that are attached to their stores, allowing them to create a ‘round the clock revenue stream. Or automated pizza-baking kiosks like Pizza ATM, which has been around for well over a decade in Europe and is now ready to expand its presence into the American market.

Vending Kiosks: Not Just for Food Anymore

Brands like Lego -- which may not seem like an obvious choice for interactive vending -- are jumping on the bandwagon with high-tech machines that attract both children and their parents, if for different reasons: kids are pulled in by the Lego Movie playing on the integrated screen, while parents are happy that they can quickly purchase that birthday present they needed to pick up and get on with their day. Lego benefits from the ability to highlight certain products or product categories by price point or theme, easy data collection, and lower costs, both in terms of overhead (no cashier needed, less expensive per square foot to operate than a traditional store) and losses due to theft (the machines are far more secure than open shelving).

Other Types of Interactive Vending and Dispensing Kiosks

Even health and wellness companies are getting into the vending and dispensing kiosk act. Besides the cosmetic and cosmeceutical brands like those mentioned previously who have adopted interactive vending as a sales channel, REDYREF recently completed an automated dispensing solution for a biotech company. The consumer-facing product is aimed at health-conscious individuals who are concerned with avoiding germs while on the go, and it will be deployed in airports later this year.

As an industry leader in end-to-end leader in the design and production of interactive kiosks, REDYREF knows that the market for automated retail will continue to grow exponentially over the next decade. If your company is ready to make the leap into high-tech dispensing kiosks, our experts are available to assist businesses of all sizes in developing a program that fits their specific needs; just give us a call at (800) 628-3603 ext 525 or submit a request for proposal online and our team will be with you every step of the way.

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