Shopping Center Kiosks and Vending Kiosk Article
From ICSC August 2021 — Vending machines now feature digital touchscreens and even biometric facial identification to make the buying experience faster.
- Taubman highlighted and pitching most of their strategies
- Selling sauce, vape, skincare, drugs (Advil), cupcakes, eyelash extensions, PPE and CBD
- Revenue from vending machine still less that specialty kiosk or pop-up
One perhaps unexpected disruptor that gained traction during the COVID-19 crisis was the rise of vending machines. Once seen as archaic dispensaries for 75-cent potato chip bags, they now may feature digital touchscreens and even biometric facial identification to make the buying experience faster. And during the pandemic, retailers began looking more seriously at vending machines as seamless, contactless ways to get their products to consumers quickly.
“All types of stores deployed vending machines during the pandemic when they had to close due to the lockdown and still wanted to make their merchandise available,” explained Elliot Maras, editor of Vending Times. “In every case I am aware of, the sales surpassed expectations and they are keeping the machines on-site post pandemic.”
Vending machines during the pandemic were selling not just prepackaged snacks and soda cans. Instead, retailers stocked products like CBD gummies, artisanal pizzas, prime cuts of meat, down jackets, swimsuits and iPad chargers. Thanks to advances in wireless technology, customers rarely find vending machines empty of the products they want, and operators adjust the products based on real-time sales. And forget paying with quarters; customers now can pay via mobile apps.
As the U.S. labor shortage continues and contactless transactions remain on the upswing — hello delta and lambda variants — some retailers consider vending machines rather than brick-and-mortar or kiosks as primary entry points into retail sales. Dude, Seriously Hot Sauce CEO Kai Schneider, for instance, had considered opening his own store but changed his mind once COVID-19 hit. “People — Dude, Seriously employees included — deserve a hassle free-experience with minimal risk to exposure, and the vending machine supplies that,” he explained.