Unattended retail and vending machines have a rich history. First modern vending machines were introduced in 1880 in England, dispensing postcards. In the next few years these became very popular and were a common sight at railway stations in England dispensing envelopes, postcards, and notepaper. The earliest reference of a vending machine dates back to first century Roman Egypt, created by Hero of Alexandria to dispense holy water.
Modern day vending machines are marvels of engineering; they just don’t dispense holy water, postcards or envelopes, they are capable of dispensing a variety of items such as food, beverages, toys, confectionery, hygiene products, electronics and the list can go on. Vending machines today can also be designed to perform specific tasks.
Today there are rapid changes in consumer behavior and the way businesses operate due to ever evolving business dynamics driven by sociological, political, economic and technological factors. Businesses need to maintain pace with consumer tastes and demands. There is rising demand for 24x7 ‘just in time’ convenience exaggerated by COVID. For regular retail shops there are several constraints including but not limited to logistical, operational and business reasons for this demand not being met effectively. Vending machines and unmanned retail are the immediate answer to this problem. Not only do they cater to all kinds of products, these machines don’t require man-power to operate. COVID-19 has reinforced and enhanced the need for such technologies. With vending machines there is no need for human to human contact and purchases can be made 24X7.
The current vending ecosystem/industry is,however, not fully digitally equipped and designed for these quickly evolving consumer and vending operator needs and demands impacting vending businesses globally. There is a link missing between operators, FMCG brands and consumers which has stunted possible exponential growth of vending businesses globally.
Vendekin Technologies has been a game changer in the vending business with its mobile first digital solutions. Since its product launch in 2018, Vendekin has developed an entire digital ecosystem for vending powered by its AI/ML driven platform. The ecosystem is fully integrated by connecting consumers, operators, brands, making supply chains efficient, analysing consumer buying patterns and providing ease of use with cashless payments and touch free transactions. Vendekin’s complete ecosystem addresses all issues related to vending, eliminating the need for outsourcing services to multiple third parties. All this with a mobile first digital approach.
Any existing vending machine or kiosk can be retro-fitted with Vendekin’s intelligent machine controller (VIC), reducing contact by up to 95 per cent. Vendekin’s intelligent controller also works in tandem with card readers and ‘tap to pay’ devices, providing a dual cashless solution. For consumers, Vendekin provides an intuitive mobile app/web app that provides multiple touchless vends. There is a dedicated operator app for supply chain staff and AI/ML driven analytical web portal for supply chain and demand chain tracking. The Vendekin solution ticks all the right boxes with cashless payments, touch free and multiple dispensation, consumer behaviour reports, customised advertisements, inventory management to name a few.
Along with snacks, tea & coffee vending machines, Vendekin’s tech can also be applied on any unmanned kiosks such as water/milk dispensing, ticketing for amusement parks/metro stations, EV charging stations and many more.
Vending could help unmanned retail and vending leapfrog into the next era with ease of use and just in time convenience. Vendekin is working towards unifying the entire vending VCommerce ecosystem with its patented technology that bridges critical data gaps in the industry. Vendekin’s digital aggregator platform ‘vNetra’ provides a birds-eye view of the entire vending machine business.
Stay tuned to learn more about ‘vNetra’.
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