You must have come across vending machines, a refrigerator-like, at your office, hotel lobbies, stadiums, shopping malls, airport terminals, and other convenience centers dispensing chocolates, wafers, soft drinks, packed juice, and various other items.
Vending machines are a perfect example of how technology delivers convenience. Vending machines eliminate the need for human assistance to serve the customers, who can help themselves with any item available in the machine by paying the associated amount.
How Vending Machines Benefit Businesses
Low Operating Cost
Operating vending machines is not very expensive. The vending machine requires a limited space, electricity, and no human assistance to sell the product, eliminating the need to rent or purchase a big office space and monthly wages or payrolls.
One of the biggest benefits of the vending machine is that it is available for operation 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Thus, the customers have access to the products offered in the vending machine as and when needed, especially in an emergency, which reflects in the sales register.
High Earning Potential
With items available for sale at all times, a vending machine is easily among the profitable business opportunity. That said the location of the wending machine is very crucial for good sales numbers and ensuring steady income.
Limitations of Traditional Vending Machines
Along with all their business benefits, traditional vending machines have their share of limitations. For instance, inventory management and maintenance of the vending machine is not easy. Regular checks and inspection are required to ensure there’s enough stock available and the machine is working appropriately. Additionally, the overall customer experience was very passive.
The evolution of next-gen technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) not just help overcome the limitations of traditional vending machines but also enhances the customer experience. The intelligent vending machines are the future, especially with the proliferation of IoT.
Intelligent Vending Machines
IoT helps build a network of vending machines that can communicate among themselves and suppliers. For instance, the machines track the inventory and orders for products that require a refill. Such features enable businesses to efficiently operate thousands of intelligent, intuitive, and interconnected vending machines.
The intelligent vending machines also recognize regular users, predicts their purchases considering their buying history, helping augment their shopping experience.
Additionally, intelligent vending machines are equipped with internet, geo-fencing, telemetry sensors, barcode readers, NFC payment options, camera, microphone, and speakers, engaging consumers at an advanced level.
How Intelligent Vending Machines are Different
Real-time Inventory Management
Intelligent vending machines track the stock at real-time and place refill order before the item gets out of stock. Real-time inventory management helps gain insight into the performance of the vending machine, enabling businesses strategies their future plans.
Automated Repair and Diagnostics
An intelligent vending machine not just tracks the inventory but also keeps a check on the performance. It gauges factors such as fluctuation in temperature, the problem with compressors, hydraulic levels, motors, spirals etc. and sends an alert notification to the technicians and service engineers.
The intelligent vending machines accept payment through different modes other than cash. The consumer can thus, make payment via cards, NFC, and other electronic payment options.
Intelligent vending machines are equipped with sensors and mechanisms such as NFC, OR, face recognition, etc. that help it identify the consumer and personalize their experience. It provides the consumer recommendations after analyzing their purchase history. The machine also recommends items based on the buyer’s age, medical record, dietary requirements, and other parameters.
Real-time Customer Feedback
Armed with a camera, speaker, and microphone, the intelligent vending machine allows users to provide the feedback of their buying experience with the machine. Companies can monitor the customer feedback for the betterment of the services.
Intelligent vending machines are pitted as the future of shopping. They are cost effective for the business and can go a long way in augmenting the overall experience of the buyer. Leveraging IoT, AI, and analytics means the business gains a lot of insight into the consumers’ buying habit that helps them augment customers’ experience.
However, intelligent vending machines require a stable and fast internet connection. With the 5G network ready for rollout in several countries, we may see the proliferation of intelligent vending machines. Intelligent vending machines may turn out to be the focal point of smart cities, where every service would be interconnected.
That’s all from our end.
Until next time!