The vending machine has been with us a lot longer than most of us think. Hero of Alexandria developed the prototype of this now ubiquitous feature of modern life in the 1st Century, in what is now Egypt. Hero’s device-dispensed Holy Water. There were also vending machines in 16th Century England, dispensing tobacco in pubs. A far cry from Hero of Alexandria’s pious offering!
Today, vending machines dispense everything from snacks to coffee to soda. In the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, they even dispense art. The vending machine is a convenience that’s here to stay, but what does it have to do with the future of retail? Plenty.
Let’s explore the subject of vending machines and the future of retail and unravel the latest incarnation of this venerable icon of modern convenience.
The changing face of retail.
With online retail bringing the consumer journey to home computers everywhere, pundits have breathlessly forecast the demise of traditional retail for years now. But that’s only true to an extent.
While many large-scale chains have recently shed outlets, the fact is that the USA has been “over-stored” for a very long time. The retail landscape is overrun with options for shopping until we drop and, in our endless enthusiasm for the activity and for novelty, we’ve accumulated an excess of retail outlets.
All the same, people aren’t about to stay home. While many people enjoy the convenience of online retail, most shoppers are still seeking not only the human connection offered by brick-and-mortar outlets but the ability to have a sensory experience of what they’re buying.
Online retailers can’t do that.
Further, online retailers are moving into the traditional market space. Amazon is just the most obvious example. With forays into retail since 2011, the online megalith is rolling out traditional retail outlets across the USA.
Enter the vending machine.
Unattended retail is not only anything new, it’s the very essence of the vending machine. You put money in, get your purchase out and off you go.
And the applications for unattended retail are virtually endless. For example, Uniqlo (a Japanese retailer) has placed vending machines in airports and malls serving 10 US cities, recently. These unattended retail outlets sell shirts and down jackets.
With all the advantage inherent in the vending machine trend, the only way is up for a retail outlier once considered “kitsch”.
Online and traditional retailers alike get an outpost of their brand which grows their reach, while offering exceptional return on investment, due to low overhead costs. And more and more brands are coming on board.
Bevco – the leaders.
At Bevco, we’ve been providing extraordinary vending machine, micro-mart and coffee equipment since 1977. Serving the northeastern USA in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, we bring you the highest quality equipment available.
With green technology which allows our machines to hibernate when not in use, we’re an energy smart company that saves you money. Our guaranteed product delivery keeps up with demand, supporting your enterprise.
Contact us to find out more.