Are Self Checkout Kiosks A Distraction? Some Say So, But I Say No

I recently received an email from a reader objecting to our coverage of self checkout kiosks, a new technology that has been taking root in our industry and gaining attention in the consumer media. This individual claims the self checkout systems are cannibalizing vending machines and not complementing them.This individual also questions how well the self checkout systems performance have been measured in comparison to vending banks. Rather than devote attention to these systems, he believes we should focus more on promoting the benefits of vending machine investment.I have known and respected this individual for a long time and I assume that he is not alone in his reaction to our coverage of self checkout kiosks.Automatic Merchandiser and VendingMarketWatch have always attempted to be fair in presenting and assessing new concepts, and I believe we have done so in addressing self checkout kiosks. We have noted they bring a new set of considerations for the vending operator, and we have never implied they will replace vending in all locations.Our job is to report the news. To not report developments affecting our industry would be irresponsible.Beyond reporting the news, we have encouraged readers to be open minded about new concepts introduced to the industry, be they dedicated healthy vending machines, automated robotic retail systems, integrated food systems that reheat meals, pre-loaded shelf vending machines for small locations, and more.Vending operators have long embraced non-vending concepts, some of which have become standard for many established vending companies: office coffee service, manual feeding and catering.The reader will argue that the above mentioned concepts complement vending rather than cannibalize it, but who is to say the same thing will not hold true for self checkout systems?Vending operators have to be open to concepts that strengthen their ability to meet customer needs.The self checkout systems are new and it is too soon to say how prevalent they will become.For the time being, vending operators are embracing this concept more aggressively than any other established retail channel. This says something about the synergies that exist between traditional vending and self checkout systems.

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