Sunday, 22 April 2012

A vending machine for everything

When will we have a vending machine for everything?

There are marketers who would emphasise the customer service element of the retail environment, but for certain types of goods and certain types of shoppers, human interaction isn't necessary, and can be a hindrance.

The fully-automated shopping models of the future:
  • web-based (or app-based) with delivery to your door (or potentially to your person wherever you are)
  • traditional-style shops with fast self-checkout or RFID based transactions
  • vending machines that take an order (on a screen, from a mobile device, or by voice) and dispense the product
Fast food outlets seem a potential early target from automation to the vending machine model. The workers are already production-line-organised, allowing machines to be slotted-in as the technology develops, and orders an increasingly taken electronically. Order-at-the-counter eat-in fast food is replaced by order-electronically-at-the-table; take-out orders can be fired ahead to the restaurant so that food is ready on arrival.

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