Automated retail

Automated retail is the category of self-service, standalone kiosks that operate as fully automatic retail stores through the use of software integrations to replace the traditional retail services inside in a traditional retail store. These standalone kiosks are often located in heavily trafficked locations such as airports, malls, resorts and transit hubs.[1]

Consumers often browse and select products using a touchscreen interface that operates similar to an ecommerce website, pay for purchases using a credit or debit card, and then the product is dispensed through a system other than gravity fed drop systems, often via a robotic arm inside the kiosk.[2]

These software integrations, the consumer experience and the delivery mechanisms are what differentiate automated retail stores from vending machines.

ZoomShops and Redbox are examples.[3] Though the vending units can be dressed up with a touchscreen, they are considered smart vending units. There is a wide discrepancy between the revenue results from smart vending units and automated retail units. Lower cost products are better suited for smart vending, whereas more expensive products such as luxury items, cosmetics, electronics and other such products will perform better in automated retail machines.[4] The retail units are several times more expensive than the smart vending units; however, the cost can be justified based on revenues generated. The Source self-service automated retail units accept debit and credit cards to dispense electronics, much like the Best Buy units.[5]

See also


  1. The Body Shop deploying automated retail shops Archived August 15, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2011-06-15.
  2. Alyssa, Bary. (2005-10-24) Zoom Systems Offers iPod Vending Machines | News & Opinion. Retrieved on 2011-06-15.
  3. Now available at vending machines: GPS, iPods, cameras ... Archived copy. July 24, 2010
  4. Vaidya, Kunal (2016-06-13) | The Business Case for Automated Retail Kiosks
  5. Vaidya, Kunal. (2015-08-22) | The Source Expands Presence at Toronto Pearson International Airport. December 22, 2014
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