One AVT representative compared the content of the vending video screens to TV infomercials, which have proven to be a successful sales tool. Simply stated, this approach is a powerful form of point of sale advertising.
ZOOMSHOP USES TOUCHSCREEN INTERFACE
ZoomShop machines can be found in retail stores, shopping malls, and airports. Each device relies on a touchscreen interface that enables the consumer to shop for products in the machine in a manner similar to an online search and selection routine.
All transactions require electronic payment which activates a robotic mechanism to retrieve and dispense the purchased product. All machines are remotely monitored and, on average, take up approximately 28 square feet.
In a July 2008 newspaper account, Zoom Systems compared a traditional beverage or snack vending machine, which it pegged with monthly revenues ranging from $330 to $1,000 per square foot, to ZoomShop units that generate $3,000 to $10,000 per square foot per month. Additionally, the firm claimed that at least one of its highly successful locations collected revenues of nearly $40,000 per square foot per month.
Clients attribute much of the ZoomShop’s success to the digital media at the core of its customer interface. Zoom Systems explains its business approach in two short sentences posted on its Website: “ZoomShops are automated, self-service stores that combine the convenience of online shopping with the immediacy of traditional retail. Powered by easy-to-use touchscreen technology, ZoomShops are part of a state-of-the-art network of automated retail stores that are found in over 650 airports, malls, and retail stores across the U.S and internationally — and growing.” The impressive results Zoom has experienced brings added attention to the potential contributions of digital media to the sphere of automated merchandising.
MORE VENDING VIDEO SCREEN APPLICATIONS EMERGE
While AVT and Zoom Systems have been pioneers in placing video screens on vending machines, other companies have followed close behind.
Direct marketing company SPIO Media Network, primarily involved with coupon dispensing through adaptive devices that affix to a vending machine, is likely to add video screens as a secondary offering.
Taking a similar approach is Quickstore24, which offers special purchase packages marketed through its built-in, large video screen. By having the video screen also serve as a touchscreen, Quickstore24 eliminates the need for a traditional keypad for data entry.
As mentioned earlier, in addition to promoting machine-based products, digital media also provides a base for displaying paid commercial advertisements. Such advertisements may be contracted through a digital media network. The network may contact product manufacturers, service providers, and news agencies to purchase commercial space on the channel.
These advertisements can provide vending operators with incremental revenues not otherwise obtainable. For the past several years, Solara Technologies has offered a vending machine with a touchscreen point-of-purchase interface along with a multi-language capability.
Additionally, there are several digital screen suppliers that claim their products can be retrofitted to work in a vending machine, which boasts much potential for industry-wide implementation.
One recent vending application that incorporates a vending machine and a Web interface is offered by Vendweb.com. The Nutri-Vend 1000 machine dispenses powder-based nutraceutical drink mixes (e.g., protein, weight loss, low-carbohydrate meal replacement, high carbohydrate, meal replacement, recovery or energy supplements) in the form of a chilled beverage.
The machine delivers the mixed cold beverage to the consumer in approximately 30 seconds. While this type of internal mechanism may not be unique, what is unusual is that the product is marketed as having a Web-based touchscreen kiosk interface. The kiosk enables consumers to obtain more information about nutraceutical beverages as well as to make a delayed purchase by configuring it to accept an order via the Internet, with next day delivery.