In conversation with Abhinav Soni, Sales Head - Opportunities & Challenges for smart vending machine



Vending may have been in India for almost 40 years now, but as the world rides the new wave of digital retail, our sales lead Abhinav Soni shares his thoughts on the opportunities and challenges presented by smart vending technologies, the solutions provided by Vendekin to brands globally and the challenges his team faces in selling this idea to brands and entrepreneurs. Excerpts from this interesting conversation:


Smart Vending Machines in the Indian market


Abhinav shares that the exponential growth of digitisation in India has resulted in massive traction for the idea of a smart & unmanned retail landscape. Multiple brands are showing interest in building new channels of sales & even beginning to explore automatic vending machine prices in India. While smart vending machines offer end-consumers a touchless and personalised experience, Vendekin Technologies provides smart vending solutions in India and worldwide to brands in the retail and food & beverages (F&B) sector. Vendekin does this by retrofitting their existing vending machines to make them “smart” – cashless and touchless – with the help of a web or app interface. Vendekin also customises smart vending machines as per a brand’s specific needs and requirements and provides an AI/ML (Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning) driven back office vending management software to remotely track sales and manage other vending machine operations digitally.


Traditional Stores vs Regular Vending Machines vs Smart Vending


While Abhinav doesn't believe in the idea of pitting the concepts of traditional stores, regular vending machines and smart vending machines against each other, he does elaborate on the benefits that brands experience with smart vending machines. For instance, setting up a traditional brick and mortar store takes a lot more time and money to get up and running. Regular cash-and-coin operated vending machines come with their own set of limitations and still require tactile human interaction and manual intervention in its operations



Smart vending solves both of these challenges. A vending machine can be set up in as less as 1/10th of the cost of a traditional storefront. And in less than 24 hours a business can be set up with smart cashless vending machines in India. Customer transactions on these machines are entirely touchless, managed through smartphones, while all the sales data and interactions can be tracked digitally by the vending machine operator.


Expanding Beyond the Usual Markets


Vending machines are a common sight at airports, railway stations, bus stops, corporate offices and various public spaces. But there's a lot more that can be explored, says Abhinav. Vendekin-powered smart cashless vending machines can be set up in residential complexes, educational institutes, business parks, fitness centres, hospitals, etc. Basically, any place that witnesses high footfall is a potential place of business for smart vending machines.

The team at Vendekin can help businesses identify such high footfall spots across the country and handhold them in setting up smart vending machines at these locations. This is a part of Vendekin’s bouquet of vending solutions in India and across the world.


Scope of the Vending Industry


According to Abhinav, vending has now evolved over the usual packed snacks and beverages. The smart cashless vending machines in India and worldwide can be customised as per the product a brand wants to sell. Natural Ice Cream now vends tubs of its popular ice creams through a customised refrigerated vending machine in Pune, similarly Shaukeen Pan has a unique "Paan Vending Machine" outside its store and Gadre Marine has packaged seafood vending machines installed in a residential complex.


Apart from that, an entire micro market can be powered with the digital, touchless and app-less software of Vendekin that takes unattended retail to the next level




In a nutshell, there is no dearth of what brands can sell through a vending machine, as they can be customised as per the requirements of the products and powered by digital vending solutions from Vendekin Technologies.


Growth of Retail in India with Smart, Unmanned Vending


Abhinav adds that by providing a new method of product delivery to customers that combines physical presence with digital convenience, smart vending machines are playing a significant role in business growth for brands in varying sectors.


Modern vending machines have made it possible for businesses to add value to their traditional retail model by expanding their reach through unmanned outlets to more places. Instead of being the only point of sale, stores can now provide their end consumers with an enriched retail experience by taking the store to the customers. These smart vending machines are taking the products out of retail stores and into places where the customers live, work, and play. This form of retail is also being called instant commerce, where the customer can buy something right away, right where they are.


Who Will Benefit from Smart Vending in Indian retail


According to Abhinav, smart vending in retail is a win-win for all the parties involved. The consumers get to experience the power of instant commerce, where they find the nearest vending smart machine through their app, scan, select and pay for their choice of product and get it immediately without any physical interaction with the machine. While brands are able to reach customers in places where their physical, brick and mortar stores cannot. As a result adding a new channel of sales and income while generating more traction for their products.


Will Smart Vending Reshape Retail in India


With ecommerce and quick commerce, consumers today have already come to expect a retail experience that is convenient and digital. Smart vending checks all the boxes, in addition to being instantaneous. It provides the experience of purchasing something from an outlet, but it makes the entire process seamless with the provision to scan, select and pay online, just like ecommerce. What makes it standout is the instant gratification, as there is no waiting period for the product to be delivered either.


From a business perspective, vending is cost effective too. Automatic vending machine prices in India can start as low as Rs 1 lakh and go up to Rs.8 to 10 lakhs depending on customisation. Giving a great window to brands to expand with sustainable investments.


Additionally, operators using Vendekin's VCommerce platforms get the benefit of higher margins on products made available by brands at pre-negotiated prices with Vendekin.


If you haven’t already, now is the time for your brand to get a sales and branding jump through smart vending in India. Check out the various solutions Vendekin Technologies have developed for brands and businesses worldwide. Reach out to us on +91 9555712713 or write an email to marketing@vendekin.com.