Robot Retail

Kiosks and mobile trucks are popping up everywhere making products even more readily available to consumers. Not only does this phenomenon create a world of opportunity for new businesses to advertise their flagship locations, it also offers small businesses without expensive storefronts the chance to level the playing field.

Have we become too lazy to go out and purchase what we want/need? Are we just too busy to go too far from work or home? The short answer is arguably a little of both—which in turn is a huge advantage to retailers…as long as they can do it right.

With their “Cupcake ATM,” Sprinkles Cupcakes is a great example of a company hitting a home run in convenience and accessibility. Although this “ATM” doesn’t come to you (there are plenty of cupcake food trucks roaming around at all times), it is located right outside the store and dispenses freshly made cupcakes and cookies 24/7. 

At first glance, this idea may not appear to be that revolutionary, but applying this business model to retailers who sell goods and services outside of food/beverage could really change the way retailers operate. Selling food in these types of environments is always questionable, especially because quality and freshness can be easily compromised; but any other type of CPG could really thrive here.

What if no-contract mobile retailers started using this ATM model outside of their stores so customers could pay their bills anytime, as opposed to in-store only during store hours? What if drugstores began to vend diapers, baby products and household items? What about clothing retailers dispensing jewelry, strapless bras and pins for outfit emergencies? Cost and upkeep for these “ATMs” would be minimal in comparison to being a mobile retailer and the convenience and customer satisfaction would be through the roof!

In a fast-paced world in which convenience and affordability remain important to consumers, the innovative retailers will stay ahead of the competition. ATMs and vending are a quick solve to help boost sales and awareness…at least in the short run. 

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