Automated Retail

Digital Payments Give Video Arcade Games A 21st Century Reboot

Retailers are updating their sales models with new takes on vending machines and delivery approaches. Some of the latest initiatives include grocery stores that are testing delivery services in which drivers transport food to customers’ homes and unload it directly into refrigerators.

Even as consumers embrace self-serve and automation for some services, they don’t want it for everything, however, and still appreciate a level of human touch. For example, a recent survey of airport travelers found that passengers often prefer interacting with human staff for concierge services.

The July Automated Retail Tracker examines the latest self-serve efforts in retail, including where such models are experiencing uptake and where they may fall flat.

Around The Automated Retail World

Two years ago, staff-free retail stores drew high investment in China, and many stores opened. Today, however, the picture is less rosy: A new report details a number of these stores closed within a year of opening. According to the report, businesses may have made mistakes when predicting which types of products would attract self-serve customers.

Self-serve is showing stronger uptake in airports, though. Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport recently deployed kiosks to help support quicker cross-border travel. The kiosks process traveler’s documents and verify their biometric information against their passports.

In the U.S., meanwhile, Texas supermarket H-E-B is testing a new form of curbside delivery in which items are transported by self-driving car. The supermarket is partnering with automated delivery company Udelv to test the service in Olmos Park, Texas. 

Find more about these and the rest of the latest headlines in the Tracker.

How Polycade Gives Arcades A Level-up

Retro arcade games are seeing a comeback, with the gaming consoles popping up in bars and restaurants. While consumers still love the classic games, they aren’t as keen on the classic payment methods.

Wooing modern consumers requires convenient, digital payments — including contactless and cards — explains Jake Galler, chief operating officer and co-founder of console-providing startup Polycade. In this month’s feature story, Galler discusses designing wall-mounted gaming cabinets that offer easy payments to consumers and useful data insights and price tailoring capabilities to operators.

Get the full story in the Tracker.

Deep Dive: Can Automation Solve Grocers’ Inventory Management Challenges?

The ability for brick-and-mortar grocery stores to provide immediate access to products is one of its top selling points, and stores need to stave off competition from meal kits and online grocery delivery. If they run out of the desired inventory, however, that advantage is quickly lost.

Simply stacking up huge stores with products isn’t a solution, though, as groceries have strict sell-by dates, and supermarkets that overstock are liable to lose money when they’re forced to throw out the excess inventory.

This month’s Deep Dive delves into this dilemma and explores how supermarkets are trialing new automated solutions to help strike the right inventory balance.

Find that story in the Tracker.

About the Tracker

The Automated Retail Tracker, powered by Worldnet Payments, serves as a bimonthly framework for the space, providing coverage of the most recent news and trends, as well as a directory highlighting the key players contributing to the segments that comprise the expansive automated retail ecosystem.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.