Twitter is the second most popular social networking site on the planet, behind only the Internet behemoth Facebook. With hundreds of millions of users all over the world, it is also seen as a bold new source of both resources and innovation in terms of retailers. Eddie Bauer is just one example of a retailer that is using the social networking site to its fullest extent by installing Twitter-activated retail vending machine solutions in certain locations.
The Twitter-activated vending machine will be on display when Eddie Bauer opens a new store in New York City in the spring of 2015. The Eddie Bauer vending machine will be available for customers to interact with for the first two weeks after the store is opened. Not only will the machine be specifically designed to dispense the brand’s famous line of outdoor adventure products, but it will also offer discounts, gift cards and other promotions for people who Tweet using the @liveyouradventure hashtag and @eddiebauer Twitter handle.
For those who don’t want to wait that long to interact with a social media twitter enabled vending machine, Eddie Bauer is also opening a holiday “pop up” store in New York City that will feature the hardware throughout Christmas and New Years.
One of the major benefits of retail vending through IDS has to do with security. All IDS automated vending machine solutions are physically secured in such a way that puts bank vaults to shame. Not only is the frame of the vending machine itself secured with high grade steel, but it also uses high grade security glass. Customers will be able to clearly see the products on display but will never be able to gain unauthorized access. Regardless of the location in which these machines are placed, the vending machine manufacturer has gone to great lengths to make sure that all merchandise stays as safe as possible.
Retail vending through IDS is also secure in terms of digital security. Customers will still be able to access merchandise using all of the means that they have become accustomed to – fingerprint readers, credit cards and even traditional cash. Advanced technology called iQ Technology, however, makes sure that all customer information that is entered into the machine is secure at all times. Retailers won’t have to worry about hacking and other types of digital theft, as no credit card or other sensitive information is stored on the servers in the first place.
Twitter-activated retail vending machines are just one of the many ways that retailers are engaging with customers on their own terms – namely, in the digital realm. It is a true example of innovation at its finest and can be seen as an inspiration for retail businesses of all types to see the Internet not as a threat, but as a bold new frontier.
Modern vending machine technology has not yet reached the level seen on “The Jetsons” where machines woke, showered and shaved George and fixed meals instantaneously. However, today’s custom vending machines have certainly improved from the rudimentary machines of yesteryear. What vending machines will look like in 50 to 100 years is anyone’s guess, but it is fun to think about what kind of machines might be around during that time. Read below to learn what the future of vending machines could look like in 50 to 100 years.
Scanning technology: One way in which vending machine technology will likely change in the next 50 to 100 years is in the way customers pay for their product. Next Generation Vending and Food Service is currently experimenting with technology that will tie a credit card to a person’s thumbprint. This will give customers the ability to pay for products using nothing but their thumbprint. Paying via thumbprint represents just one of many possibilities when it comes to scanning technology in future retail vending.
New ways of personalizing products to customers: Although it sounds hard to believe, one way that vending machine technology could change in the future is by making the tough decision between a candy bar or a bag of chips for customers. When using this machine of the future, customers will walk up to the vending machine, and facial recognition software will read their junk food desires and select the perfect snack for each person individually.
The vending machine technology listed above is just a small taste of the amazing designs that are yet to come in the next 50 to 100 years. In fact, some of the above technology is simply unbelievable. However, it is unlikely the past generations ever thought that many of today’s vending machines would be touch-screen operated or house a wide range of products from office supplies to sodas. Therefore, “unbelievable” is a wise goal for vending machine manufacturers.
Looking for a unique, eye-catching and even publicity-worthy way of offering your products? Retail vending could be right up your alley. Vending isn’t just for food and beverages anymore; today, they’ve become recognized as a convenient, cost-effective, customer-friendly solution for businesses providing a wide range of products.
Vending machines take your brand from the local landscape and allow you to cast your marketing net over a wider area. Portable enough to be located just about anywhere there’s electricity, retail vending machines can be customized to feature your brand logo or slogan and to promote sales and special offers, and IDS’ iQ technology lets business owners track inventory remotely so keeping machines well-stocked and responding to fluctuations in customer demand is a snap.
Another advantage: Retail vending is still a relatively new concept, which means that if your company decides to use the technology, there’s a good chance you can use it to gain media attention for your company and your product. That means more exposure and greater customer interest, both of which can play an important role in building your brand and driving sales.
Vending machines have come a long way in recent years. For example, machines that were at one time used for food items only are now meeting a wide variety of
needs for corporate offices, garages, doctor’s offices, hospitals and many other locations all across America. A recent article featured on Bloomberg Businessweek highlighted a new cupcake vending machine and referenced other items such as fresh fruit and smoothies now found in many a custom vending machine today. Read below for one of our innovative uses of vending machine technology:
Office: In an office, there are many wasted resources, which costs companies thousands of dollars each year. However, we now offer office technology vending machines set up to provide flash drives, keyboards, pens, and anything else that an employee would need in an office setting. All an employee has to do is swipe a card, which allows employers to track who is using what. It also gives employees in need of office supplies instant access to them, meaning there is no reason to make a trip to the office supply store or call in IT.
Because the vending machine keeps track of who gets what out of the machine, there is greater accountability. As a result, many employers find they are saving a great deal of money because their employees no longer see office supplies as their personal property but instead consider them the property of their employer. This cuts down on waste significantly.
According to an article by National Geographic, supermarkets in Slovenia used their monopoly to make prices of milk so low that farmers were not making a profit. To fight back, dairy farmers organized and took the distribution of their milk into their own hands by using specialized vending machines to vend their milk. By circumventing the need for retailers, the dairy farmers are now able to control more of the distribution of their milk and the profit margins they receive. The machines dispense milk by the ounce into bottles for sale in the machine or into any container that customers bring to the machine.
At IDS, we work with businesses to find new and creative solutions with custom vending technology. From inventory management for office and medical supplies, to retail kiosks and more, constantly evolving vending technology and a good idea can transform the way your company does business.
Intelligent Dispensing Solutions has manufactured a wide range of customized vending machines for various businesses in many different industries. One of our most popular forms of vending machines is an automated retail kiosks that vend products to customers or provide information and customer service services.
You may not think that kiosks will fit with your business, but these vending machines often tap into markets and demographics that you might have had less success with in the past. Automated retail kiosks are a great way to show off new technology and create buzz about your business by installing something people have not seen before. They are also an extra point of contact for customers to engage with your company, especially if the machine is located in a different area than your stores.
Kiosks, self-checkout and mobile shopping are becoming increasingly popular with younger shoppers and as their shopping habits develop more, they will expect stores to meet their needs. Even traditional products like clothing, jewelry or small electronics can see success in retail kiosk self-checkout machines because younger shoppers like the autonomy of the machine and the ability to avoid stores they might not shop in.
New York Fashion Week is one of the fashion industry’s largest events of the year and there is no shortage of cutting edge clothing and designers pushing the limits and boundaries of fashion. For three days during the week-long celebration, a unique vending machine made an appearance, dispensing t-shirts that are definitely more than what meets the eye.
The organization Plastics Make it Possible arrived at fashion week with a truly unique custom vending machine that dispensed a free t-shirt to anyone that “paid” by putting a plastic bottle into the machine. While a creative way to encourage recycling, this may seem like an odd exchange for a t-shirt. The differences between the plastic bottle that patrons inserted into the machine and the t-shirt they received from it aren’t that different though.
The t-shirts from this machine were designed by Allison Parris and were made from recycled plastic fabric! Intelligent Dispensing Solutions loves to see creative vending machines used to promote great causes like this. The t-shirts are made with recycled plastic bottles that are cleaned, melted and stretched into a fine thread. The result is a soft, woven fabric that can be made into lots of different kinds of clothing, including stylish graphic t-shirts!
Vending machines are much more versatile than they were in the past. With new technologies that are becoming more widespread and compact, vending services are evolving from traditional snack and drink vending with coin payment systems to sophisticated POS, or point of sale, systems and retail vending machines that create new interaction, marketing and sales opportunities for businesses. This is especially true in the retail industry, where traditional brick-and-mortar stores are trying to find more ways to connect with digitally-connected customers and online e-commerce sites are attempting to create physical footprints and ways to interact with customers in tangible ways.
A technology that is helping this process along is the use of QR, short for Quick Response, codes. These matrix bar-codes can already be found on anything from business cards to billboards and even on the packages of many items sold in vending machines. For retailers, these QR code vending machines give consumers with smart-phones an easy opportunity to connect with their websites, send text messages to enter contests, or even contact vending machine operators about service issues or questions.
By scanning the code with their phones, customers are immediately directed to take an action with their phone and these actions are often simple and very valuable to businesses. Intelligent Dispensing Solutions, as a vending machine manufacturer is always looking for new and innovative ways to incorporate these technologies to help your vending business.
You’ve made it through the airport’s security, miraculously arrived at your gate on time, and even have enough spare time to enjoy your victory with some relaxing. After visiting the nearest cafe for the largest container of coffee they can legally sell, you rummage through your carry-on bag to triple-check that you have everything you need.
While searching for your favorite magazine, you start noticing all the things you forgot to pack in your early-morning rush! Luckily, airports are well-equipped with custom vending machines that stock just about everything you could need on your flight.
Recently, San Francisco cosmetics company, Benefit, launched a new vending machine to help travelers that grabbed everything but their lipstick, eye-liner or almost anything else you’d find in a makeup bag. Their new “Glam Up & Away” machines have makeup on-the-go available at JFK airport and airports in Austin and Las Vegas. These beautifully bright-pink makeup vending machines vend 30 of their most popular products to help travelers look their best.
These machines are a great blend of creative design, marketing gimmick and very useful products!
Have you seen any creative vending machines lately? Intelligent Dispensing Solutions is always on the lookout for new and innovative uses of vending technology!
Not too long ago, facial recognition by machines and computers was something that only existed in sci-fi movies and laboratories. Now, facial recognition software is being integrated into personal computers, communication devices, security systems, retail stores, and even vending machines!
A coffee company named Douwe Egberts set up a custom vending machine in the O.R. Tambo International Airport in South Africa that dispensed coffee for exhausted travelers. Using facial recognition software, the machine was able to detect when a potential customer yawned in front of the machine and automatically dispensed a hot cup of Douwe Egberts coffee.
Now that’s instant satisfaction! Being able to incorporate the latest technological innovations into vending machines is what helps the industry evolve and stay relevant and interesting. While this particular application of facial recognition software was used as a marketing gimmick, the same technology could be used in traditional vending machines to recognize customers and make suggestions based on previous purchases, greet them with a custom message or interface, or give them access to a specialized facial recognition vending machine for medical supplies or other inventories.
Check out the video posted by the coffee company on YouTube, demonstrating their solution to red-eye flights! Make sure to contact us at IntelligentDispensingSolutions.com with any custom vending machine ideas!
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