Most anyone with a few dollars and some loose change can hit up a vending machine or unattended kiosk to grab chips or a candy bar. But, for consumers with more cash on hand or cards with higher spending limits, more luxurious items, including caviar and cars, can also be purchased through specialized vending machines. And, for the companies behind such goods, those machines provide value beyond sales themselves — they’re often equally about generating awareness and buzz.
The October edition of the PYMNTS Unattended Retail Tracker™ highlights how the latest developments in unattended retail technology are disrupting the ways in which consumers use public transportation, shop for vehicles, pay for fast food and more. And, as it appears to be playing out, some of the latest unattended tech developments could bring big changes to how consumers shop for goods and interact with brands, as well as goods and services.
Unattended solutions invite big changes to commerce
Some big players in the fast food restaurant industry recently launched new tools in different global markets that could change how customers order and pay for their meals.
A new solution in China, for example, could redefine the term “service with a smile.” KFC recently released a new “smile to pay” service at a Hangzhou location. The solution uses a 3D camera positioned at the restaurant’s POS terminal to scan customers’ faces and verify their identities. All the customer has to do to place their order is smile at the camera.
Meanwhile, in New York City, Shake Shake is examining the effectiveness of cashless kiosks when it comes to the overall customer experience at its Astor Place location. Customers will be able to use a digital touchscreen or the Shake Shack mobile app to place their orders. The kiosk will deliver text alerts when the order is ready, allowing the customer to leave and return when their food is ready to go.
Beyond food services, the traditional car shopping experience also appears to be headed for an update. Take online vehicle marketplace Carvana, which recently installed its first car vending machine in Florida. The facility is eight stories tall, can store 30 vehicles and, to add entertainment value, allows users to pick up their purchased vehicle using an oversized coin. The Florida machine is Carvana’s seventh facility.
Dispensing luxury lifestyle goods through unattended solutions
Since 2012, several Los Angeles shopping malls have offered curious and free-spending consumers the opportunity to buy luxury items such as Beluga caviar from unattended vending machines. For the October Tracker’s feature story, PYMNTS spoke with Kelly Knight, owner of Beverly Hills Caviar, about the vending machine she personally designed to store and dispense caviar. Knight discussed her family’s history in the caviar business and the lessons she’s learned from selling luxury products through unattended vending machines.
To read the feature story, get the latest news and trends and peruse a directory of more than 100 providers, check out the PYMNTS Unattended Retail Tracker™.
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TO DOWNLOAD THE OCTOBER EDITION OF THE PYMNTS UNATTENDED RETAIL TRACKER™, CLICK THE BUTTON BELOW.
The PYMNTS.com Unattended 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 unattended retail ecosystem.