The Next Big Things Shaping the Future of the Vending Machine Industry
Vending machines seem pretty standard – you put your money in, get your product, and go on with your day.
But with the advent and adoption of the Internet of Things, or IoT, and other exciting innovations, vending machines are flourishing in a new role at the cutting-edge of the consumer experience.
Where Has the Industry Been, and Where Is It Headed?
Modern, coin-operated vending machines have been around for well over a century. Though beverages often come to mind when picturing these machines, the first applications also centered around postal supplies and smaller items like gumballs.
As machines have marched toward greater variety and use cases, Japan has often led the way, adapting vending machines to innovative uses like fresh food, consumer electronics and more, and those innovations have spread to other countries around the globe.
However, perhaps the greatest innovation in the history of the industry is now upon us – the potential for IoT-enabled, “smart” vending machines.
How IoT Is Changing the Face of The Industry
Essentially, IoT refers to so-called “smart,” everyday devices that integrate with one another and allow for unprecedented interoperability and interaction.
And this new way of approaching an interconnected user experience is moving into vending machines.
You can think of a “smart” vending machine as a traditional machine that’s been elevated to a whole new level of service, integrating established and growing IoT concepts to deliver a heightened consumer experience.
They’re also set to power unprecedented mobility, providing an avenue for retailers to have smaller footprints with boosted capabilities and insights.
So, What Do IoT-Enabled Machines Make Possible?
A nearly endless list of possibilities has been left in the wake of IoT innovation, offering retailers a never-before-seen opportunity to leverage vending machines for a variety of uses.
The benefits and uses of these new-age machines include:
- Interactive touch screens
- Boosted informational capabilities and machine learning ability
- Integration with cutting-edge payment technologies
- After-the-fact analytics and real-time dashboards allowing for constant adaptation
Essentially, it boils down to a total overhaul of both the customer and retailer experience.
With high-tech options like audio, visual and even scent-based promotion, gesture controls, end-to-end integration, artificial intelligence, connected apps, and more, customers will have the friction-less experience they desire, and retailers will be able to leverage increased agility and responsiveness. This can lead to enhanced inventory management, direct communication with specific consumers, and product expansion.
Speaking of product expansion, these “smart” vending machines are also helping the industry ride a wave of truly innovative offerings.
Take alcohol, for example – traditionally limited by a machine’s inability to verify a consumer’s eligibility to purchase alcoholic beverages, these IoT-enable machines provide additional verification techniques that will allow for these remote, seamless alcohol sales.
SandenVendo Ready to Keep Pace
As the vending machine industry takes increasingly large leaps ahead in its ability to serve consumers and retailers, SandenVendo is committed to being agile and innovative in keeping pace with these exciting trends.
To learn more about how, visit vendoco.com/vending-equipment.