Interview • 18.01.2021

Vending machines: Customers alone in the store

Combi City-Markt makes round-the-clock shopping possible – without staff

Combi City-Markt from the Outside
Source: Wanzl

Shopping after closing time? That’s possible at the Combi City store Bünting in Oldenburg. At the 24/7 vending machine, late at night shoppers have the opportunity to stock up on everything they need from the supermarket's assortment.

The Wanzl company helped develop this solution. Jürgen Frank, Head of Shop Solutions and Head of Marketing, tells us exclusively how the new shopping alternative works.

Mr. Frank, customers can shop 24/7 at the Combi City store in Oldenburg - explain the principle behind the store.

Jürgen Frank: It's a hybrid solution for city centers. On the one hand, the Combi City store offers a compact supermarket assortment with over 5,000 items on a sales area of 450 square meters. Right next door, the fully automated Combi 24/7 vending machine solution, developed by KHT and Wanzl and used by Bünting for the first time, complements the classic supermarket range. This is located in an area adjoining the store with a separate entrance. In Oldenburg, the vending machine provides a 24-hour supply of everyday products. A total of 500 items are available from the refrigerated and non-refrigerated food range, the fruit and vegetable department, the beverage range and the drugstore.

So if I can't make it to the store during normal opening hours, I can simply do my shopping alone later?

Exactly, staff is not needed, as the handling of the checkout and ordering terminal is intuitive and explains itself. The most important steps are clearly visible and easy to understand on a wall right next to the terminal. You use the terminal to select the products you want. The search and selection are facilitated by preset categories of products, classification criteria such as price, name or popularity, and other filters. If, for example, foods with certain allergens are not to appear on the screen at all, they are simply hidden with the right filter.

Frau steht an Fließband und wartet auf Ware
Source: Wanzl

How is food stored and dispensed?

The vending machine has a partially automated stocking and picking system. This means that employees place the relevant items on a conveyor belt[BG1] . Then a 360° scanner automatically records all important product properties. Information on refrigeration requirements and the protection of minors is provided by the product master data, which is maintained accordingly via middleware. The dispensing of alcoholic beverages, for example, is thus linked to an age check via ID card, as is the case with conventional purchasing. In most cases, the articles are stored chaotically in the vending machine using a picking system with one or two gripper arms. Fast-moving items can be stored next to slow-moving items. The same system is also used for dispensing the goods. The picking robot places the ordered products on a conveyor belt that leads to the sales floor. All scanned items are also automatically registered in the store's inventory management system or the vending machine. Thanks to a permanent, automatic inventory, monitoring and tracking of best-before date stocks are autonomously controlled and, if necessary, a message is sent to the store manager when the availability of individual items is running low.

What do retailers have to keep in mind and what are the technical requirements for using and setting up such a vending machine?

The 24/7 vending machine follows a rather lean and easy-to-install approach and is intended and designed as an addition or extension to brick-and-mortar areas as well as for Click & Collect or Click & Drive models. This makes it both economically scalable and practically easy to implement. Basically, the vending machine is installed and ready for use after a few days. The actual implementation and installation effort depend on the location, existing or new building, the size of the vending machine and the ability to integrate it into the existing inventory management system. The machine is flexible in terms of length and height, so that it can be integrated into practically any store. If required, it can be connected to adjacent storage, basement or upper floor areas via a dispensing compartment on the sales floor.

Why is such a store needed these days?

The 24/7 vending machine means a win-win situation for everyone. Customers benefit from the continuous availability of goods, while bricks and mortar retailers benefit from the additional sales opportunity with little space requirements and without depending on traditional store opening hours. The concept is not restricted to specific sectors or locations. In principle, it is suitable wherever only a small sales area is available, which can be in city centers or at transport hubs such as train stations or airports. 

Is this type of shopping the future and will it replace conventional supermarkets?

The 24/7 vending machine will not replace supermarkets but will primarily supplement them where little sales space is available. It is another way of shopping and a good answer for brick-and-mortar retailers to changing consumer behavior. Customers switch back and forth between online and offline channels depending on the situation, want immediate availability and shopping around the clock if possible. The 24/7 vending machine meets these requirements perfectly.

Interview: Katja Laska

related articles:

popular articles:

Thumbnail-Photo: GLORY Announces IoT Enabled Vending Solution with Deutsche Bahn...
22.10.2021   #Cash #hygiene

GLORY Announces IoT Enabled Vending Solution with Deutsche Bahn

Delivering 24/7 convenient access to fresh, local produce helping consumers to make sustainable choices

Global technology company Glory, has today announced the launch of a new Internet-of-Things enabled vending solution with Germany’s largest railway operator Deutsche Bahn.Passengers at two busy stations in the Munich area will now be able to ...

Thumbnail-Photo: The first cashier-free supermarket inaugurated in Dubai...
21.10.2021   #food retail #refrigeration cabinets

The first cashier-free supermarket inaugurated in Dubai

Unmanned stores with remote-controlled counters

“The world of retail is evolving and digital transformation will be the engine of change. Customers are increasingly demanding and they are asking for a fast, pleasant and safe shopping experience. The innovation will support retailers in this ...

Thumbnail-Photo: CASHINFINITY™: 1,000th cash recycling system in use at dm...
25.10.2021   #Cash #hygiene

CASHINFINITY™: 1,000th cash recycling system in use at dm

CASHINFINITY solution optimises security of cash processing, is easy to use and increases the productivity

Whilst seeking a cash management solution for the back office, Europe’s largest drugstore chain opted for GLORY’s CI-100. In order to be able to carry out transactions, configurations and settings online, the cash management system has ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Instacart acquires Caper AI
26.10.2021   #food retail #omnichannel

Instacart acquires Caper AI

Smart cart and smart checkout technologies

Instacart announced its acquisition of Caper AI (“Caper”), an AI-powered shopping cart and checkout technology platform. With this acquisition, Instacart aims to help retailers unify the in-store and online shopping experience for ...

Thumbnail-Photo: E-commerce Germany Awards are back to business!...
11.11.2021   #online trading #e-commerce

E-commerce Germany Awards are back to business!

Awards presented in categories such as Omnichannel, Logistics, Payment, Analytics and IT Solution

We're not only bringing back the E-commerce Berlin Expo in February 2022, but also all the events associated with it. E-commerce Germany Awards is, of course, one of them. There are exciting times ahead, so let's find out what they will ...

Thumbnail-Photo: How to increase sales with voice search SEO
15.11.2021   #digital marketing #EuroCIS 2022 – technology special

How to increase sales with voice search SEO

How retailers can serve consumer voice searches

Search requests via voice assistants such as Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Co. continue to rise – voice search therefore is one of the most important trends in online marketing 2021. With voice search SEO, companies can sustainably benefit from ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Tesco opens new checkout-free store ‘GetGo’...
28.10.2021   #app #food retail

Tesco opens new checkout-free store ‘GetGo’

Shopping and paying without scanning products or using checkouts

Tesco has opened its first checkout-free store in central London on October 19th, giving customers the opportunity to shop and pay without scanning a product or using a checkout. This new store trial, GetGo, offers customers the same Tesco products ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Success at c-stores with workforce optimization...
08.10.2021   #retail #personnel management

Success at c-stores with workforce optimization

Despite the turbulence of the past year, C-stores are almost certainly due for a promising quarter–or more.

The pandemic’s effects are receding, and the public is itching to spend and move about again. In fact, many retailers expect consumers to make both routine and leisure trips at pre-COVID-19 levels.This means C-store associates will be ...

Thumbnail-Photo: E-Commerce Expo Asia 2022
11.10.2021   #e-commerce #brick and mortar retail

E-Commerce Expo Asia 2022

12.10.-13.13.2022 | Singapur

Discover all the end-to-end knowledge in the e-commerce space at E-Commerce Asia 2022 on Oct. 12-13, including Customer Experience, Mobile Commerce, Cross Border Commerce, e-Commerce Trade Strategy, Supply Chain Management, Omni-Channel Retail, to ...

Thumbnail-Photo: INTEGRATING CASH with digital channels
14.11.2021   #e-commerce #payment systems

INTEGRATING CASH with digital channels

COVID-19 raised safety concerns over cash handling, but those fears dissipated as the pandemic dragged on

By October 2020, cash had rebounded and reasserted itself as “the top way to make a purchase throughout 2020,” according to a report by Javelin Strategy & Research for ATM operator Cardtronics. ...

Supplier

Reflexis Systems GmbH
Reflexis Systems GmbH
Kokkolastr. 5-7
40882 Ratingen
iXtenso - retail trends
iXtenso - retail trends
Celsiusstraße 43
53125 Bonn
POS TUNING Udo Voßhenrich GmbH & Co KG
POS TUNING Udo Voßhenrich GmbH & Co KG
Am Zubringer 8
32107 Bad Salzuflen
APG Cash Drawer
APG Cash Drawer
4 The Drove
BN9 0LA Newhaven
EuroShop
EuroShop
Stockumer Kirchstraße 61
40474 Düsseldorf
CCV GmbH
CCV GmbH
Gewerbering 1
84072 Au i.d.Hallertau
GLORY Global Solutions (Germany) GmbH
GLORY Global Solutions (Germany) GmbH
Thomas-Edison-Platz 1
63263 Neu-Isenburg
Citizen Systems Europe GmbH
Citizen Systems Europe GmbH
Otto-Hirsch-Brücken 17
70329 Stuttgart