Retrobox - The booster shot of smart tech for traditional vending machines

Updated: Mar 26

Traditional Vending Machines - Just a simple box with snacks


So what comes to mind when someone says vending machine? A large glass and metal box placed conveniently in a corner, with some brightly packaged snacks, plastic beverage bottles. Or maybe the vending machines that you are thinking of are those table top machines, commonly found dispensing tea or coffee in office pantries. Or perhaps you are thinking of the ticket dispensing machines at metro stations. While the products being dispensed may vary, all the vending machines above usually accept currency notes, coins and cards and allow for punching in the product code through some buttons or a keypad.


All in all, a vending machine would seem to be a simple mechanical box with limited payment options to make a purchase using cash or sometimes a debit or credit card. These machines also have a high chance of a lost sale if the customer walks away if he/she doesn't have the exact amount of cash on them, or if their card fails to swipe or be detected for some reason or if they do not wish to swipe/tap their card multiple times to get multiple products.


With the Retrobox, Vendekin Technologies is bringing transformation into the vending machine business, making these older, simpler and clunkier vending machines smarter with a touchless, ‘shopping cart’, mobile purchase experience with multiple digital payment options.


So what is Retrobox?



Retrobox is a palm-sized plug-and-play device created for vending machines by Vendekin Technologies, used by smart vending machines suppliers in India, US, Europe, UAE and other countries. It is compatible with all Multi Drop Bus (MDB) versions and can be set up in less than 10 minutes. The Retrobox acts as an interactive controller device, managing the execution activities through customers’ mobile phones. It can be placed inside the old machines by simply connecting the MDB, DEX and Keypad cables of the machine, without having to make any cosmetic changes on the exterior. The machine looks the same but operates more smartly and efficiently.


What made managing the older vending machines cumbersome?


Missing Innovation

  • Older machines need a GSM telemetry device to transfer data. With the 3G sun setting upon 2022, these devices have to be upgraded to run on 4G and 5G networks.

  • There are usually only two payment options available in older vending machines, either cash and card.

Poor Consumer Experience

  • These machines dispensed only one product at a time.

  • Older machines require currency change management to accept physical currency

  • Contactless cards have limitations in terms of number of swipes/taps in a day

Operational Inefficiency

  • Running and maintaining cash equipment comes at a high cost.

  • Card readers, cash acceptors and telemeters are expensive to set up and maintain.

  • Existing back office operation management softwares do not provide in-depth data analysis for the entire operation.

Today, if vending machines and kiosks do not support all forms of mobile cashless payments, the operators could be missing out on an extra 20% in sales. That’s where Vendekin’s Retrobox provides the booster shot of smart tech, providing a one stop solution to the operators.


So how does Retrobox improve the vending experience?


TOUCHLESS SHOPPING EXPERIENCE


Every machine powered by the Vendekin Retrobox gets a specific QR code. Upon scanning, it shows all available products from the machine on the screen using the Vendekin app or the web app on the phone’s web browser. The user can select up to 5 products and pay using multiple digital payment options (cards, UPI, e-wallets and net banking) in a truly touchless way.


“NO-INTERNET” DATA TRANSFER

Machines retrofitted by Vendekin use Bluetooth to establish a communication network between the user’s smartphone and the vending machine. The entire process is managed uninterruptedly without requiring any internet connection in the machine. Since the retrofitted machines don't require a GSM telemetry device, the operators’ recurring costs and the need for upgrading their machines 4G and 5G network reduce significantly.


SEAMLESS UNMANNED VENDING

Operators usually have to purchase multiple software for activities like inventory management, sales management, stock tracking, etc. Vendekin provides a fully loaded VMS software that acts as one seamless platform to manage everything online through the app and the backend software portal.


Benefits of a Retrobox-fitted machine

For the vending machine operators

  • Operators can upgrade their older machines and kiosk at a fraction of the cost of a traditional card reading solution.

  • The device is plug and play in under 2 minutes.

  • Access to an analytics web portal, AI/ML-driven Supply Chain and Demand Chain Tracking system.

  • Increased operating margins by using the guided Operator App for supply chain management, to ensure all the machines remain stocked on time.

For the end consumers

  • End consumers can purchase 5 products in a single transaction through their mobile phones.

  • They won’t have to download a mobile app or add money into a mobile wallet, but simply scan the QR Code on the machine to make the purchase.

  • Payments accepted using all major payment platforms, e-wallets, cards, net banking, tap and pay

  • Powered by a patented technology that enables a seamless consumer experience.

Patented technology

This technology by Vendekin is GDPR compliant and has received 4 patents in the US and India, and several more are patent pending.


Brands whose machines are powered by Vendekin's Retrobox

Globally renowned brands like Coca Cola, Nestle Professional, SandenVendo, ElanPro and Cantaloupe and Indian brands such as Godrej, Georgia, HUL, Atlantis, Cothas Coffee and large operators like Grabbit, Instago and Vendiman have retrofitted their machines with Vendekin’s Retrobox, making their machines smarter and more efficient, providing a seamless experience to their end consumers.


vNetra - The backend support for your smart machine

The Retrobox provides a seamless data feed to vNetra, a Google Cloud powered, GDPR compliant, AI/ML driven back office vending management software for operators/brands to remotely track sales and manage operations. Stay tuned for our next blog to know how vNetra, powered by Vendekin, is one of the best vending machine softwares. Right from helping vending operators stay on top of their inventory needs to helping them stock up virtually saving time and money!


There couldn’t be a more apt time for vending machine businesses to move towards the new age of vending, the age of intelligent, unmanned vending by retrofitting their existing machines with Vendekin’s Retrobox. Call or whatsapp (+91) 955-571-2713 or email marketing@vendekin.com to know how you can get started today!