Monday, March 14, 2011

Position Yourself for Vending Machine Selling

RetailWire recently hosted an Internet discussion among retailing experts about the documented growth in popularity of the ultimate format for self-service brick-and-mortar retailing—vending machines. (Registration at RetailWire, which is free, is required for access to the posting.)
     Items named in a compilation by the NBC “Today” show as being sold from vending machines include products ranging from live bait worms to gold bullion bars. Most of the examples in the “Today” posting were from Japan. Among food items, the offerings included fresh eggs, ripe bananas, and live hairy crabs.
     Retail space, particularly in high-traffic areas, is very limited in Japan. A vending machine can keep the stock more compactly than on store shelving, and there’s no need to have a place for the salesperson or cashier to stand. Actually, those same arguments for vending machines apply—even if to a lesser extent—for retailing in most other developed countries. In the U.S., we’re renting DVDs from Redbox machines and buying airplane tickets from airport kiosks.
     Position yourself to take account of the increases in vending machine sales. The two primary models are:
  • Have vending machines within your brick-and-mortar store to sell certain items. Hundreds of Macy’s stores have had vending machines to sell electronics products about which consumers are likely to possess high familiarity. From a shopper psychology perspective, it’s important that consumers be told by signage that they can seek advice from sales personnel about what to purchase from the machines. In addition, train your staff so that when a customer asks a salesperson for a product that is sold only from the machine, the salesperson walks the customer to the machine or hands off the customer to another salesperson who will do that.
  • Extend your store name and your selling possibilities to locations outside your store by placing vending machines in locations likely to have large numbers of potential customers. Best Buy Express vending machines are located in airports, each machine selling electronics products with which, again, the customer has high familiarity. With machine placements outside your store, go beyond allowing customers to return unsatisfactory items to your store. Encourage them to do so. When customers come to a store and their problems are resolved smoothly, they become quite likely to make additional purchases. Chances are you’ll be able to offer them a larger selection of options than is available in the machine.
Click below for more:
Inform Customers, But Don’t Intrude
Simplify Item Returns for Customers
Keep E-Commerce Product Returns Pleasant

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