Modules, Connectivity

What Is Smart Vending, and How Can It Benefit Retailers?

October 25, 2022

According to Forbes, consumers might not even recognize vending machines in a few years. The emergence of smart vending is the result of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. IoT enables smart vending with reliable and advanced connectivity solutions across industries.  

Create Connected Smart Retail Solutions

The Vending Machine of the Future, Today

IoT vending solutions provide incredible insights and metrics to retailers. They can personalize the customer shopping experience and boost operational efficiency.

The Growing Demand for Personalization

Consumers are eager for greater personalization. With smart vending, machines can personalize the shopping experience with AI and analytics.

While not prevalent today, vending machines could potentially have facial recognition features and advanced algorithms. These tools can tailor item recommendations or advertisements to the customer. Of course, data privacy must be a priority. Users must give a machine (and the retailer) authorization to use their data.    

Using Data for Machine Monitoring

Smart vending machines will use IoT retail solutions and real-time insights to monitor the device’s ecosystem. These vending machines will use remote IoT connectivity and sensing technology to:

  • Sustain inventory levels
  • Schedule predictive maintenance
  • Maintain perishable item quality (such as food and medicines) via temperature monitoring

The machine will continuously utilize shopping trends for stocking, saving the retailer money and maximizing profits. These insights enhance other decision-making processes, like precise analytics for machines in different locations.

Examples and Advantages of Smart Vending 

Smart vending machines can use NFC, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to accept payment via smartphones.

While Americans occasionally use vending machines, they are more widespread in other parts of the world. In Europe and Asia, smart vending machines are popular in the following places:

  • Train stations
  • Airports
  • Parking lots
  • Street corners
  • Offices

These machines cover various industries, including:

  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Electronics
  • Clothing
  • Cosmetics
  • Food and beverage

The convenience of smart vending is that they are always available. For example, someone can obtain over-the-counter medicine in the middle of the night even if the drug store is closed.

Likewise, these machines allow retailers to reach their customers in high-traffic locations, such as beaches or concerts, where stores aren’t immediately available. Moreover, IoT vending machines can provide coffee and snacks without a retailer building infrastructure or hiring employees.

Connectivity Is Foundational for IoT-Enabled Smart Vending

Smart vending machines are always open and do not require a human operator. However, maintaining that lucrative status requires robust cellular connections. Solutions need to support multiple forms of connectivity:

  • Local, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth® or near-field communication (NFC), for authorization and payment through smartphones
  • Wide-area (cellular) for sending operational and transactional data to the cloud

Wireless IoT connectivity has always been optimal, as it enables transactions anywhere and anytime. Likewise, with cellular connections and accompanying SIM card solutions, retailers can use a drop-and-play approach. This method eliminates Ethernet cables that can restrict the machine’s deployment and, in some instances, mobility.

Empowering Global IoT Smart Vending Machine Deployments  

Like all other IoT commerce solutions, smart vending machine functionality is contingent on a stable and reliable connection. Without always-on connectivity, goods will spoil, and valuable insights could get lost. Our IoT modules and connectivity provide visibility and remote management tools to smart vending machines and kiosks deployed across multiple regions and networks.

Speak with an IoT expert to get started on your smart vending IoT solution.