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2012 Retail Trend – Automated Retailing

05/03/2012

Reimagining retail. That’s a powerful thought…and long overdue. Retailing today is largely mundane and disappointing.

If Coinstar has its way automated retail, aka vending machines, will remedy the problem for many transactions. Coinstar is the company that is behind the Redbox entertainment kiosks. Redbox started as an experiment by a division of McDonald’s in 2002. Coinstar has refined and enhanced the service over the years, delivering more and more convenience and choice to consumers. Redbox kiosks are located at grocery stores, mass merchants, drug stores, restaurants (I’ve seen them in McDonald’s in rural locations), and convenience stores. Each one takes up less than twelve square feet—a small footprint for a box that has revolutionized the home entertainment industry. Approximately 68% of Americans live within a five-minute drive of a Redbox kiosk!

Coinstar is not stopping with videos and DVD’s. I’ve heard they are launching a business selling new and refurbished consumer electronics via vending machines. Sound crazy? Once launched automated electronics could be another serious blow to Best Buy – unless they are the ones behind the concept.

In the US we are way behind other countries in vending or automated retail. Japan has the highest number of vending machines per capita, with about one machine for every 23 people – and these numbers are from 2009!

Considering the lack of knowledgeable staff and spotty inventory in many stores – I’d much prefer to transact with a machine. Just me, my credit card and automated retailing. Now that’s a retail experience I can get behind.

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