What industries haven’t been disrupted by technology, by the transformation of the digital age? In the approximately 130 years since vending machines were invented to sell postcards in railroad stations, little has changed for this industry. But vending is changing in dramatic and profitable ways as information technology meets new personalized retail intelligence, consumer interface and remote operational and management capacity.
The move into technology-resourced vending is referred to as ‘intelligent or smart vending’ and my company is leveraging this move with technology tools in turnkey solutions for consumer brands, vending operators and advertisers. Our technology is part media and digital advertiser, provider of real-time consumer engagement and transaction intelligence, remote device management and analytics and much more. With newly defined business models, intelligent vending provides multiple revenue streams for both brands and the vending proprietor.
In the next few articles, I’ll be telling you about how the Consumer Technology industry — manufacturers, distributors, retailers and integrators — might benefit from intelligent vending, what technologies and analytics are being accessed and why, and from time-to-time I’ll weigh in on new advances and trends.
But first, let me tell you my own story about how I got involved in vending. I was a consumer product service professional and brand ambassador. I traveled extensively. And I remember all the days of running through airports in high heels. One day, I came up with the idea of selling flats in airports and hit upon the idea of using a vending machine.
In 2011, after an exhausting search, I was not able to find a company in the United States that would build a custom machine for me to sell flats. So, I started my own vending machine manufacturing company to bring my product to market. I launched my first machines in high traffic volume locations including Atlanta airport, Club LIV (Miami), MGM Grand (Las Vegas), and Bayside Marketplace (Miami). After months of operating vending machines in these locations I realized that I had no idea who my customers were and no way to interact and engage with them during or after the point of sale. I wanted to receive comprehensive sales reports about vending machines sales the way that I did from Shopify and Google Analytics for my e-commerce store. I searched once again and was unable to find a company that provided a solution. In 2016, I decided to pivot the hardware company and change the name to Solutions Vending International and change the focus from hardware to software to solve this problem that I was facing. SVI was born.