STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 34

n MERCHANDISING

Dispensing Delight
Vending machines help create unique customer experiences
by KAREN M. KROLL

S

ay the word "vending machine," and
many consumers picture machines that
dispense snacks and drinks. While these
devices are in no danger of extinction,
more sophisticated and intelligent vending
technology that offers greater functionality
is steadily taking center stage - and savvy
retailers are capitalizing on this shift.
"In today's evolving digital landscape,
retailers are constantly searching for
new ways to enhance the customer
experience," says Lori Mitchell-Keller,
global general manager of consumer
industries at SAP. "Brands are
introducing smart vending machines
that are connecting consumers more
easily with desired products, optimizing
the shopping experience and expanding
consumer reach and accessibility."
The new machines dispense a range
of products, including electronics,
personal care and beauty items, as well as

34

STORES April 2018

pharmaceutical supplies, Mitchell-Keller
notes, in locations beyond bricks-andmortar stores. A quick stroll through
many airports, for instance, will reveal
vending machines offering makeup,
computer accessories and travel gear.
Earlier this year, visitors to the Brooklyn
Museum could purchase select pieces
from the Marla Aaron jewelry collection
through a vending machine located
outside the art museum's gift shop. Marla
Aaron, the woman behind the eponymous
company, says the idea was sparked by
vending machines selling high-end items
she saw on a trip to Japan. "By the time I
came home, I was plotting what it would
take to build one," she says.
A first step was developing a vending
system that would allow customers to
experience the brand. Because Marla
Aaron isn't an instantly recognizable
brand, the machine would need

to immediately tell a story. It also
would have to help customers become
comfortable purchasing items of high
value; Aaron's pieces, all of which
incorporate locks in different forms and
metals, can run to the tens of thousands
of dollars.
To that end, the machine's façade
features large, enticing images of Marla
Aaron jewelry, as well as a video that
tells the company's story. Purchases are
delivered in boxes of orange linen and
pouches of purple suede. "We're selling
handmade objects," Aaron says. "We
wanted to give them to customers in an
unexpected way."
Customer reception has been good, Aaron
says; since her company doesn't have its
own retail outlet, it needs to tell its story any
way it can, and the vending machine helps
accomplish that. "It's been very gratifying
and hard at the same time," she says.
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - April 2018

Editor’s Page
President’s Page
Retail Politics
NRF News
TRENDS
C2W
Retail People
A Taste for Success
Want It, Need It, Gotta Have It
SUPPLY CHAIN
TECHNOLOGY
FINANCE
Q&A
MERCHANDISING
BUSINESS OPERATIONS Lowe’s expands training program to help communities in need.
BUSINESS OPERATIONS Bloomin’ Brands uses data to save money and improve the customer experience.
BUSINESS OPERATIONS Grove Collaborative reduces delivery times and improves customer satisfaction.
STARTUP SPOTLIGHT IceCream Labs uses machine learning and visual intelligence to drive ecommerce.
THEFT
SECURITY
POV
Communities
End Cap
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - Intro
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - cover1
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - cover2
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 3
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 4
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 5
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - Editor’s Page
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - President’s Page
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - Retail Politics
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - NRF News
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - TRENDS
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 11
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 12
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 13
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 14
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - C2W
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - Retail People
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 17
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - A Taste for Success
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 19
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 20
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 21
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - Want It, Need It, Gotta Have It
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 23
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 24
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 25
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - SUPPLY CHAIN
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 27
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 28
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - TECHNOLOGY
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 30
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - FINANCE
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 32
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - Q&A
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - MERCHANDISING
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 35
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - BUSINESS OPERATIONS Lowe’s expands training program to help communities in need.
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 37
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - BUSINESS OPERATIONS Bloomin’ Brands uses data to save money and improve the customer experience.
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 39
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - BUSINESS OPERATIONS Grove Collaborative reduces delivery times and improves customer satisfaction.
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 41
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - STARTUP SPOTLIGHT IceCream Labs uses machine learning and visual intelligence to drive ecommerce.
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - THEFT
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 44
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 45
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - SECURITY
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 47
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - POV
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - Communities
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - End Cap
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - cover3
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - cover4
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