Unattended Retail

In The Park. At A Kiosk. Using Digital Payments. Buying $1.6K Designer Jewelry.

Consumers are using less cash than ever, with the average consumer carrying just $21. In response, unattended retail operators are finding new ways to embrace alternative payment methods, ranging from mobile wallets to cryptocurrencies.

In the new Unattended Retail Tracker™, PYMNTS charts the latest ways that companies are working to accept more non-cash payment methods, from the common credit card swipe to biometric scans.

Around The Unattended Retail Space

For many retailers, vending machines have become a critical part of the customer experience.

India’s Delhi Metro, for one, is embracing the unmanned aspect of vending machines not to reduce costs, but to prevent corruption allegations. The company said it received complaints of passengers being cheated by dishonest staff, prompting Delhi Metro to switch over to automatic ticket vending machines.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, a sustainability-focused grocery store is turning to vending machines as a way to uphold its mission of reducing waste. Glasgow-based Locavore is abandoning the practice of selling milk packaged in plastic cartons and, instead, directing customers to machines that will dispense fresh milk into reusable bottles.

Vending machines are also mission-critical to U.S.-based Reis & Irvy’s. The frozen yogurt company prepares and dispenses its treats with the help of a robotic arm, which it says is part of the attraction. The company recently signed a deal to bring a dozen such kiosks to Columbus, Ohio, and is currently experimenting with the acceptance of cryptocurrency.

Unattended Luxury: Vending High-End Jewelry 

It’s not just froyo and metro tickets being offered up by vending machines, however. Passersby in one New York City park can purchase designer silver and 14-karat gold jewelry from a custom vending machine — with a top-selling item priced at $644.

In this month’s feature story, jewelry designer Marla Aaron explained why she decided to sell her high-end offerings through a vending machine, and who’s buying.

“I look at the vending machine as principally an exceptional vehicle for branding and storytelling,” she said in a recent PYMNTS interview. “[It’s] maybe the best thing we’ve ever done [for storytelling].”

To check out the full story, download the Tracker.

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About The Tracker

The 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.



The PYMNTS Cross-Border Merchant Friction Index analyzes the key friction points experienced by consumers browsing, shopping and paying for purchases on international eCommerce sites. PYMNTS examined the checkout processes of 266 B2B and B2C eCommerce sites across 12 industries and operating from locations across Europe and the United States to provide a comprehensive overview of their checkout offerings.