Recent innovations in automation and connectivity are creating new possibilities for vending machines. With traditional shops under pressure from rising costs and on-line competition, vending machines can offer a much cheaper alternative to traditional retailing.
Vending machines can makes significant savings in terms of labour and space requirements. Developments in data monitoring and stock supply enable vending machines to carry wider ranges of more sophisticated products and serve a greater number of customers. Not only are vending machines attractive to traditional retailers but also on line sellers.
On line sellers or e-tailers struggle to provide cost effective delivery solutions. Especially over the "last mile" of delivery. Again, vending machines can be flexibly located conveniently near to customers and suppliers, reducing trading and delivery costs in the process.
In light of the challenges facing traditional and on line retailing, it is not surprising that more businesses are investing in vending technologies. As well as growth in technologically advanced markets like Singapore vending machines are becoming more popular closer to home. Last week came the news that the German popcorn retailer Poppy is launching its popcorn vending machine at up to 150 outlets in the U.K. other vendors are following suit.
For any fan of science fiction and the depiction of a vending machine reliant future wont come as a surprise. What the UK property industry can do is become better prepared for it. Currently this market is frustrated by legal red tape. This is largely due to the risk of vending machine locations acquiring Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, security of tenure. In light of this risks, most landlords limit and reduce the ability for tenants to contract with vending machine operators. This is currently something of a missed opportunity for retailers and the property market.
The UK Government could do the property industry and vending retailers a favour by granting landlords and vending machine operators the ability to site vending outlets without the risks under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. This would encourage greater innovation in vending machine innovation and provide greater freedom for both Landlord's and Tenants to contract on arms length commercial terms.
Quick fix? Struggling Singapore retailers turn to vending machines With sales stagnating and high rent and manpower costs eating away at his profits, Azan Tengku, the director of Singaporean gift company Kalms, decided to close down his stores and move all his products into vending machines. Kalms, which has rolled out 50 machines island-wide that sell mostly teddy bears and jewelry, is one of a growing number of companies in the city-state adopting vending machines in a move encouraged by a government push for automation and tighter restrictions on low-skilled foreign workers. The city-state is seeing some of the fastest growth rates in vending machines sales worldwide, even as there are signs of saturation in major markets like Japan, which at 5.5 million has the world’s highest number of vending machines per capita.