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Written by: Chantel Ong

The vending market is estimated to grow 17% for the next 3-4 years to about $12.45 billion, with 40% coming from only the United States. In what way does the vending market have to do with the fashion industry? 

Pop-up shows are one of the few PR strategies that fashion brands such as Yves Saint Laurent utilize to have a bigger reach and this new digital age has introduced us to new avenues of commerce through Intelligent vending machines. Which can be seen everywhere from malls, subways, events, parks and many more.

Pop-Up Vending

Based on a survey, 40% of consumers prefer to buy online then pickup in store, however there are complaints about the long-waiting lines in store. With the current pandemic online shopping has been a staple, giving consumers access to accessible forms of buying their product. Although we cannot deny that physical stores account for 88 – 90% of retail sales. The potential of Pop-up vending could possibly be a good strategy to reach customers especially when they take advantage of good locations where consumer traffic happens, stimulating that impulsive buying behavior. A retailer’s reports stated: “ pop-up locations sales can be 35% or greater than a physical store.

Gif via VogueBusiness

What is a smart vending machine

A Smart Vending Machine is basically based on the idea of a traditional vending machine but with enhanced softwares and features that make the user experience interactive. The founding of the vending machine came from the notion of providing service while no one was there to operate the store. With the collaboration of product delivery and technology creates a bigger avenue for companies and stores to dabble in. 

CEO of SMRT1 Technologies, Brad Pommen is one of the pioneers that changed the retail industry. His company started innovating and installing different hardwares that increased the user experience of Vending Machines. Allowing for consumers to pay through different payment methods such as cash, debit, credit, and digital wallets. They also instilled the use of machine learning to collect data and understand human behavior to improve the vending pop-up experience. Through Brain STEM tools made by Brad Pommen, it allows the vending machine to build awareness and forecast the initial demand of consumers.

Smart Vending Supports

  • Customized UI (user interface) for vending machine use, like navigation, branding, product information, and  controls
  • Providing sub-categories of product catalogs for specific machine use and location
  • Combining both physical and online transactions
  • Overall buy buttons and carts that have inventory and customer accounts
  • Customized cart and checkout flow
  • Various available Payments Methods such as Apple Pay 
  • In-app purchase through mobile checkout or SMS
  • Loyalty program and campaign
Image via BusinessInsider

Brands adopting

  • Uniqlo’s unique installation mainly focused on one item: warm vests for travelers who may not have packed properly for Northern California’s difficult microclimate.
Adidas Live Interaction
  • Adidas wanted to promote their Splash Pack line, so they installed vending machines in sports bars based in LA and Boston during the baseball world series. Consumers were allowed to win limited edition products based on the World Series such as cleats, autographs and gears. The vending machine had digital printing features that unlocked new products.
Lululemon
  • Lululemon focused on a certain target market, which were runners. They set up a machine at a Run Stop that included running gears and products like Lululemon socks and hats. Customers had to answer a questionnaire on their workout habits.
Yves Saint Laurent
  • Yves Saint Laurent created a vending machine that increased their customer experience through customization. Called “Lipstick Engraving ATM 2.0”, allowing people to buy lipsticks with their names engraved on their product in real-time.
Image via RunnersWorld

Future of smart vending machines

Although smart vending machines hasn’t been fully adopted in the business model, this art of marketing could easily be utilized to reach certain demographics depending on the purpose and product. Thanks to the advancement in technology, we can expect to see more vending machines among fashion brands as softwares becomes more sophisticated, implementing retina recognition and online integration. It could possibly be the future of retail.

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