In conversation with Abhinav Soni, Sales Head – Opportunities & Challenges for smart vending machine

Vending may have been in India for almost 40 years now, but as the world rides the new wave of digital retail, our sales lead Abhinav Soni shares his thoughts on the opportunities and challenges presented by smart vending technologies, the solutions provided by Vendekin to brands globally and the challenges his team faces in selling this idea to brands and entrepreneurs. Excerpts from this interesting conversation:

Smart Vending Machines in the Indian market

Abhinav shares that the exponential growth of digitisation in India has resulted in massive traction for the idea of a smart & unmanned retail landscape. Multiple brands are showing interest in building new channels of sales & even beginning to explore automatic vending machine prices in India. While smart vending machines offer end-consumers a touchless and personalised experience, Vendekin Technologies provides smart vending solutions in India and worldwide to brands in the retail and food & beverages (F&B) sector. Vendekin does this by retrofitting their existing vending machines to make them “smart” – cashless and touchless – with the help of a web or app interface.  Vendekin also customises smart vending machines as per a brand’s specific needs and requirements and provides an AI/ML (Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning) driven back office vending management software to remotely track sales and manage other vending machine operations digitally.

Traditional Stores vs Regular Vending Machines vs Smart Vending

While Abhinav doesn’t believe in the idea of pitting the concepts of traditional stores, regular vending machines and smart vending machines against each other, he does elaborate on the benefits that brands experience with smart vending machines. For instance, setting up a traditional brick and mortar store takes a lot more time and money to get up and running. Regular cash-and-coin operated vending machines come with their own set of limitations and still require tactile human interaction and manual intervention in its operations

smart vending machine powered by Vendekin

Smart vending solves both of these challenges. A vending machine can be set up in as less as 1/10th of the cost of a traditional storefront. And in less than 24 hours a business can be set up with smart cashless vending machines in India. Customer transactions on these machines are entirely touchless, managed through smartphones, while all the sales data and interactions can be tracked digitally by the vending machine operator.

Expanding Beyond the Usual Markets

Vending machines are a common sight at airports, railway stations, bus stops, corporate offices and various public spaces. But there’s a lot more that can be explored, says Abhinav. Vendekin-powered smart cashless vending machines can be set up in residential complexes, educational institutes, business parks, fitness centres, hospitals, etc. Basically, any place that witnesses high footfall is a potential place of business for smart vending machines.

The team at Vendekin can help businesses identify such high footfall spots across the country and handhold them in setting up smart vending machines at these locations. This is a part of Vendekin’s bouquet of vending solutions in India and across the world.

Scope of the Vending Industry

According to Abhinav, vending has now evolved over the usual packed snacks and beverages. The smart cashless vending machines in India and worldwide can be customised as per the product a brand wants to sell. Natural Ice Cream now vends tubs of its popular ice creams through a customised refrigerated vending machine in Pune, similarly Shaukeen Pan has a unique “Paan Vending Machine” outside its store and Gadre Marine has packaged seafood vending machines installed in a residential complex.

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