I received a press release recently for Vendease, a company promoting the use of vending machines which it seems have sparked a “new era of convenience shopping”
“Fifteen years ago, few of us would have considered buying a pair of jeans online or ordering the weekly shop, let alone booking a holiday or virtually viewing a house.
“These days the world of online consumerism is an essential element of our 24-hour, instant-
“Doubters said it would never catch on – people wanted to touch products before they decided to buy, they wanted a personal service and a tailored customer experience. Clearly
not. Deloitte’s Store of the Future report (March 2012) predicts that four out of ten shops will close down in the next five years as shoppers turn their backs on the high street in favour of the online marketplace.
“Part of the success of online shopping is down to technological advances and retailers’ response to what customers demand. 360 degree views, super zooms, interactive tours and even no quibble returns policies have helped make online shopping a viable alternative to the real world high street.
“A similar revolution is happening in the vending industry where the days of clunky, coin-rejecting drinks machines that needed a well aimed thump are well and truly behind us.
“In Japan, where there is one vending machine for every 23 people, you can buy anything
from music to live crabs. Following the earthquake of March 2011 when the country was crippled by blackouts, some even said vending machines offered a lifeline to residents.
“Here in the UK, we’re starting to see the advantages too. Each year, 7 billion products arevended in the UK and the range and variety of what’s on offer is staggering – swimming goggles in leisure centres, protective clothing on the factory floor, toiletries in hotel lobbies and SIM cards at airports. Don’t worry, you can still buy a hot drink, but instead of coffee flavoured water in a flimsy cup, you’ll get a frothy cappuccino from a machine that can grind its own beans.
“Dave Berman, director of VendEase, said: “Vending machines offer instant, 24 hour access in an age where convenience is King. Today’s machines are sophisticated and secure and businesses are switching on to the benefits for their customers and their staff.”
Okay I get the message. Forget my nicely decorated office, the comfortable chairs, cups of coffee and piped music; clients would rather I squeezed myself into a little machine in the middle of the Cornmill Shopping Precinct and handed out legal advice in return for coins pushed at me through a slot. Let’s just hope there really is no longer any need for that well-aimed thump referred to in the release!