Consumers, Retailers Gravitate to Self-Service
Retailers have done the math and it adds up.
Consumers doing more themselves
– Fewer workers
= Bigger profits
Today, retailers and suppliers are operating self-service
checkouts as well as kiosks and vending units to get an ever expanding list
of products into the hands of consumers in a wide variety of locations.
“Consumers are more accepting of these automated technologies because
they just want the stuff at a good price and really do not care if they get
it from a piece of technology or a person,” Richard Feinberg, a retail
analyst, told The Indianapolis Star.
Here in the U.S., beyond soft drinks
and snacks, vending units offer DVDs, consumer electronics, wine, over-the
counter and prescription medicines, Bentley’s and more.
Around the globe, consumers
are buying products that might make Americans scratch their heads. Included
on a list compiled by NBC‘s Today Show are
vending units selling live crabs (China), bars of gold (Germany), pizza (Italy)
and fishing bait (Poland). The world capital of vending units, Japan, has machines
that dispense batteries, eggs, sneakers and toilet paper.
Now, a vending machine
company in Corona, CA has designed a gas station that will allow consumers
to fill their tanks and also buy bottled drinks, coffee and snacks without
the aid of an attendant. While the new stations will not have bathrooms, the
company, AVT, believes owners and customers will make the adjustment.
“It’s just like anything else that develops over time with retail,” Brentt
Arcement, vice president of investor relations for AVT, told the Los Angeles
Times. “It’s sort of that evolutionary process of what’s next.”
- Vending the rules – Todayshow.com
- Automation helping retail industry cut costs – and workers – The Indianapolis
- Retail jobs are disappearing as shoppers adjust to self-service – Los Angeles
Discussion Questions: What product categories are most likely to migrate to vending units? Do you think large numbers of consumers prefer to handle transactions themselves in stores rather than dealing with a sales associate or cashier?