2018 is an era of unprecedented convenience. Brands are going out of their way to get to the consumer faster and more directly—as seen in this example from Pizza Hut, where autonomy, artificial intelligence and delivery methods are all used to build a unique solution that get products in front of consumers faster.
There is, however, another option.
A new generation of vending technology has created a way for brands to be on-demand without being in-your-face. Vending relies on the consumer to dictate exactly when they want something, as opposed to having to account for prep and delivery time in consumer’s expectations. Brands such as Farmer’s Fridge and Applestone Meat Co. have been experimenting with fresh food vending—including perishables such as meats and seafood—in order to offer customers something fresh, 24 hours a day, whenever they want.
This new trend in vending is not limited to food. Well-known activewear apparel brand Lululemon debuted a new pop-up vending machine called the Lululemon Run Stop Shop. The shop is packed with running accessories and healthy snacks, and all that Lululemon asks for in return is a selfie with the vending machine and a branded hashtag on your social media.
Little Caesar’s Pizza has previously said it has no plans of ever investing in first-party delivery, preferring instead to let the consumer come to them. With value-priced pizzas and walk-in convenience incentivizing consumers, the brand decided to take it one step further with its new Pizza Portal model. Little Caesar’s Pizza Portal allows customers to completely skip the register. Consumers order through the brand’s mobile app, then, using a pin key specifically generated for them, they can pick up their pizza from an automated vending kiosk.
Consumers are always looking for ways to save time and effort in their daily routines, preferring to spend the bulk of their time doing what they want or what they have to do. Many restaurants and brands were content to solve that problem with delivery, but vending might be the alternative solution that catches on, as it means less wait time and is expanding to encompass fresh and healthy products.
The New Era of Vending is a topic in our current quarterly report, which you can download here.