Made from stainless steel and hand built in northern Germany, the machines can be chilled or non-chilled. A variety of locker sizes are available, and users can set an individual price for each individual locker. There is a range of payment options – cash, debit cards, contactless cards. The machines can even give cash change if required.
Drive-through stores next?
Perhaps the ultimate in retail vending styles has been proposed in Russia. Inventor Semenov Dahir Kurmanbievich has applied for a patent for a drive-through grocery supermarket. Watch his video on YouTube.
According to his patent application, the concept solves “the technical problem of improving the quality of customer service while providing maximum convenience and choice of products, reducing time to service customers, cutting the queue time and lowering the time and costs from commercial enterprises associated with the filling and layout of goods”.
He proposes a shop where consumers would drive up to an empty checkout bay, and (while remaining in their car) they reach across to a vertically rotating vending machine, operated by a button, to choose the required products.
Products would be placed on a conveyor belt and passed to the checkout operator who places them in bags. When the shopping is complete, the shopper simply drives up to the checkout, pays, takes the bags through the window and departs.
Of course, such a proposal is still very much in the planning stages – but the indications are that retail vending is definitely set to become more visible, as Dr Gaye concludes: “There are some brilliant ideas around the world. Vending is really going to come to the UK in a big way”.