The automated retail market opened 2020 on pace to easily continue its double-digit growth. The continued adoption of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) is making it easier for merchants to satisfy consumers’ need for speed and convenience in their self-serve shopping experiences.
Amazon Go’s cashierless retail model is also continuing to catch on, so much so that the eCommerce giant is now selling its Just Walk Out technology to other merchants looking to jump on the bandwagon. Furthermore, vending machine innovations continue to fuel the cash-free trend, despite concerns of shutting out those with less access to digital payments.
In the latest Automated Retail Tracker™, PYMNTS explores the latest developments in the automated retail space and highlights how digital updates to smart vending machines are helping raise the standard for seamless customer experiences.
Around The Automated Retail World
That eCommerce giant, Amazon, is among the companies tapping unattended operations to satisfy time-strapped customers. The company opened its first cashierless Amazon Go convenience shop in 2016 and is now upgrading the model, launching its first full-size, brick-and-mortar grocery store in Seattle’s Capitol Hill District. Shoppers will have access to more products than can be found at regular Go stores, including items from Whole Foods and lower-priced items such as Kellogg’s cereal.
Nike is recognizing it must pick up its pace if it wants to meet consumers’ demands for quick delivery, announcing a partnership with smart logistics solutions provider Geek+ that will supply Nike with more than 200 smart robots from the provider’s goods-to-person P series. The robots will cut down on manual labor and enable Nike to make same-day deliveries in Japan.
Automaker Ford is also looking at automation, expanding its digital kiosk installation project to more car dealerships after seeing positive results from a pilot program. Customers use the kiosks to check-in, select the services they want and verify their identities by entering their phone numbers — all without having to rely on staff. The kiosks also allow users to mark how they wish to be contacted for updates, streamlining their car dealership experiences.
For more on these and other recent automated retail developments, please check out the Tracker’s News and Trends section.
Vending machines have long been staple providers of grab-and-go snacks, but the items for sale typically include candy, chips and other unhealthy options. Luke Saunders, founder and CEO of healthy vending machine company Farmer’s Fridge, leveraged the connectivity of internet of things (IoT) technology several years ago to develop self-service, smart vending machines that provide healthier options when consumers need quick meals or snacks. In this month’s Feature Story, Saunders explains why the company is upgrading its IoT infrastructure to support expansion as well as how a more robust digital system is necessary to generate the seamless experiences customers expect when placing orders with touchscreens.
About The Tracker
The Automated Retail Tracker™ 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.