When you think of vending machines, the picture that comes to mind is a machine spitting out candy, soda, and snacks. As technology evolves, the machines have become better equipped to hold greater varieties of merchandise, selling things like clothing and electronics.
According to a recent article in the New York Post, a company called Swyft wants to take that a step further. Swyft wants retailers to imagine their branded stores without the traditional retail labor and real estate costs, creating a direct to consumer & omnichannel strategy to compete with Amazon, without disrupting traditional retail.
Equipped with web-enabled technology, the new vending machines will soon link customers who order certain goods online with delivery services like Uber and Lyft that will ferry the order to your door.
Here’s how it works. The inventory in Swyft’s smart machines — from cell phones to detergents to coffee — and the location of the machines that have the goods will be cloud-based and available to delivery drivers.
So if a customer breaks a cell phone at 3 a.m. or needs a coat at midnight and buys it online, the order can get routed instantly to a delivery service that can locate the item in a nearby smart machine, get it and then deliver it to the customer within an hour.
The delivery component solves a growing challenge for retailers who want to offer one-hour delivery service.
Equipped with a camera, Swyft’s smart machines will even be able to tweak inventory over time by tracking the gender and approximate age of customer traffic that walks past.
The machines will also call the cops if they are vandalized.
Swyft has deals with CVS, Uniqlo, BestBuy, Sugarrfina, Nespresso, and others. Swyft first placed its $20,000 smart machines in airports and malls and is now placing them where customers live — at gyms, in hotels and on college campuses.