Vending Machines Go Digital, Mobile Payments Included

The age-old vending machine is getting more than a facelift and joining the world of mobile commerce.

In a keynote presentation at the recent Digital Signage Expo in Las Vegas, Jose Avalos, Intel’s visual retail worldwide director of intelligent systems, painted a picture of vending machine innovation.

He pointed to Costa Coffee, the second largest coffee house in the world, a chain that to rapidly expand created a coffee vending machine with NFC (near field communications), touch screens and mobile payments, with the vending machine capturing consumer demographics. This allowed the company to customize consumer experiences.

Avalos referred to these as part of the next generation of vending machine, providing a  more immersive customer experience.

This is part of the idea behind the Pepsi “smart cooler,” which we wrote about last week (Mobile Shoppers to Face More Interactive Screens in Stores), with the cooler providing video on its front window.

Meanwhile, on the floor at DSE were concrete examples of what Avalos was talking about.

For example, Mondelez International showed its Diji-Touch vending machine that displays dynamic advertising, nutritional information on products and one-touch multi-language capabilities.

By touching the vending machine screen, consumers can see products enlarged and spin them around to see the front and back packaging.

There are about 100 such machines in the market with 1,500 more expected by year end, and a five-year goal of 30,000, according to Frank Guzzone of Mondelez, who said he’s been working on the digital vending machines project for several years.

A key point is that the vending machines are on the network and quipped with analytical software, so that activity and  inventory can be remotely monitored in real time.

The Mondelez machines also carry products beyond its own brands. For example, a consumer could select a Coke and Oreos together.

Another is that all the machines are totally equipped for mobile payments.

While each of the mobile payment could be relative small, there could be a very large number of them around the world.

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2 comments about "Vending Machines Go Digital, Mobile Payments Included ".
  1. Melodye Demastus from Melrose Consulting , March 3, 2014 at 1:59 p.m.
    Chuck, missed this while I was on vacation.... check out http://www.air-vend.com/home... they're out of beta testing and are being installed and shipped on www.naturals2go.com machines.... I'm an investor! Great concept, great product. Still has some limitations due to WIFI connectivity...but, overall, my customers are happy!
  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin , March 3, 2014 at 2:22 p.m.
    Thanks for flagging Melodyne. Can you connect me there?