Next-gen vending machines: 5 reasons Smart vending is trending in ecommerce

Move over pop-up stores, there is a new digital-meets-physical invasion that has got the likes of Walmart, Uniqlo, CVS, Adidas, ASICS and Nespresso serving trade through connected boxes. Intelligent vending machines are popping up everywhere consumers are located — from airports to college campuses, business parks, subways, arenas, bars and festivals.

The worldwide smart vending market is projected to increase 17 percent over the next 4 years (Technavio) to $12.45 billion, with 40 percent of the growth coming from the Americas. How do smart vending machines amplify your omnichannel trade strategies?

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Speeding up BOPIS

Over 40 percent of shoppers say buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS) is the most precious element of retail shopping (iVend). But many shoppers whine wait times are too long at pickup counters in shop.

Input BOPIT: buy online, pick up in tower. With 24/7 access and no support desk queues, pickup towers can recover orders in under 30 seconds.

Both Walmart and Canadian Tire have spent in 16-foot tall units which stash up to 250 requests for clients to regain by entering PIN or order amounts, or flashing their telephones showing QR or bar codes.

Picture: RetailGazette

While Canadian Tire has just a couple of stations, Walmart will have over 700 pickup towers .

Accelerating last-mile delivery

Utilizing vending machines as hyper-local micro-fulfillment facilities for last-mile delivery is possibly the 1 use case Amazon has not already patented.

But competitor Walmart is not wasting time taking advantage of analyzing them with first and third party delivery services like crowdsourced platform Spark.

While obvious use cases for vending machines satisfaction include supermarket and meals, anything that’s typically couriered is fair game — think office supplies, automobile parts and other B2B goods.

Inventory place information and delivery instructions held in the cloud can join with delivery drivers, and buyers can see Uber and DoorDash-like real time order stalking skills coming shortly.

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Distributing convenience

Intelligent vending machines make it possible for brands and merchants to reach customers beyond the mall and away from the high street, putting a pertinent choice of products tailored to the place.

We have all seen airport vending machines touting travel-sized electronics (Best Buy) or makeup (Benefit). Uniqlo’s unique San Francisco Airport installation functions one thing: hot vests for travellers who may not have packed properly for Northern California’s finicky microclimate.

Picture: DigitalTrends

CVS is piloting vending machines in airports, bus terminals, subways, college campuses, office parks, hotels and much more. Stocked up to 70 goods with choices curated for each place, such as over-the-counter drugs, personal care products, first aid supplies, batteries and telephone chargers which may be bought through 22-inch touchscreens. Clients can apply promotional codes via a QR reader and join their purchases to their loyalty accounts.

Pop-up promotions

To promote its new Splash Packs lineup of baseball cleats, Adidas placed smart vending machines in Boston and LA during the 2018 MLB World Series finals.

Designed to replicate the post-game parties where teams douse their trainers with coolers, each Create a Splash installment dispensed team swag like foam fingers, fanny packs, towels and even autographed baseballs — all for free.

Image: KicksOnFire

Prizes were unlocked based on real-time gameplay. By way of instance, runs by a particular player would release equipment by that player.

Lululemon took”branding practice” to a different level when it put vending machines across marathon training paths in New York and Chicago. Stocked with hats, socks, hair ties, Kleenex and various healthy snacks, runners can unlock goodies out of the Run Stop Shop at no cost by submitting an email address or social media manage. Hashtagging a photograph with #thesweatlifeNYC or #thesweatlifeCHI unlocked premium equipment — again, at no cost.

To not run behind, ASICS started smart vending machines to promote the launching of its Singapore ecommerce website. Mystery locations were shown per week on ASICS’ socials.

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Shoppers could place orders via the vending machine for in-store pickup or home delivery. To drive shoppers into the e-store, the machines exhibited questions with answers available on the site to unlock prizes and discounts from 15% to $200 off their purchase.

Are traveling unmanned pop-up stores the new”mobile” commerce?

Getting (really) private

Vending machines may dispense personalized goods, such as Yves Saint Laurent’s Lipstick Engraving ATM 2.0 experience that engraves lipsticks with buyers’ names.

But smart vending machines make even more personal. Herbal tea merchant Hung Fook Tong uses a combination of artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology to profile their vending machine customers. Identified clients receive personalized recommendations based on their purchase history, and new customers by their age, sex. Recommendations also factor location circumstance, such as purchase trends and current temperature and weather conditions.

Alibaba’s Hema fast food store allows customers to order through a smart vending machine and”cover by face” using image recognition. Picture recognition may also be used to tweak stock over time by monitoring the sex, approximate age and even clothing style of consumers and walk-by visitors in a particular location.

Picture: CBS

While facial profiling appears dystopian, we are already using it to unlock iPhones and auto-tag buddies on social networking. It is believed that China is just two to three decades before the US for such technologies. Are we ready?

How headless trade supports intelligent vending

Since the oldest kiosk theories, digital-physical installations have generally been standalone, siloed experiences. They could not leverage all the features of this e-store, nor pass back data to fundamental systems of record.

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Ideally, smart vending machines integrate seamlessly with significant systems such as commerce, ERP, operations and inventory management, loyalty programs, analytics and content management. API-driven, headless trade supports integration with any touchpoint, in this instance, the smart vending machine as the”head.”

Some clever vending use cases API-driven trade could support:

  • Custom user interfaces tailored to big digital displays and vending machines use cases, such as navigation menus, demonstration of product information, forward/back controls and interactivity with mobile phones.
  • Serving sub-sets of merchandise catalogs curated for each machine and place
  • Personalized discounts and offers based on email or devotion ID
  • Blend mix of physical (fulfilled through system ) and online upsell/cross-sell transactions (sent to home or shop )
  • Universal purchase buttons and carts that connect seamlessly with ecommerce’s inventory, customer accounts, order processing and fulfillment
  • Custom cart principles and checkout stream (e.g. cut out billing address and credit card entry for boat home or shop, accept card swipe, NFC or electronic wallet in point-of-sale)
  • Custom promotional codes and codes tailored for each machine or place
  • Integration with payment gateways and payment methods like Apple Pay and other mobile wallets
  • Integration with in-app payments (unlock products through SMS code or mobile checkout)
  • Pass back order details to client accounts, loyalty programs and remarketing programs

Intelligent vending is an emerging”head” in the world of trade everywhere. Headless commerce’s ability to support customized front-end ports and join present commerce data, records and functionality to hyper-local mini-stores makes it the right”figure” for this fashion.

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