The Top Three Benefits of Voice-enabled Vending Machines
by Modev Staff Writers on April 18, 2022
Voice assistants are becoming more and more ubiquitous in everyday life. You find them on your phone, in smart speakers, and maybe even in your car. But there's another place you may soon start hearing voice assistants: in vending machines. Most people don't immediately think of vending machines when talking about voice tech. But once you consider the benefits of voice-enabled vending machines, they make complete sense.
Then, Now and Beyond
Vending machines have been with us for a while now - roughly 140 years. And in that time, they've changed very little. You insert money, punch in a combination of letters and numbers, and out pops your selection. Sure, they ended up integrating payment cards, but that's about it as far as their "evolution" goes. Until now, that is.
"Smart," voice-enabled vending machines have recently made their debut - mainly in Asia (for now) - and the benefits are impressive. Everything is aligned for the smart vending machine to see massive growth in the near future. In fact, a recent study produced by Global Market Insights predicts the smart (i.e., voice-enabled) vending machine market will grow to $15 billion by 2027.
Let's look at the top three benefits of voice-enabled vending machines.
As we etch our way out of the Covid-19 pandemic, personal hygiene has a good chance of being on many people's minds. Even before Covid, many people were wary of vending machines for hygienic reasons.
So in a world with fewer and fewer people being enthusiastic at the prospect of having to tap away on a keyboard or touch screen that an unknown number of sticky fingers may have touched, to select their snacks, voice-enabled vending machines are a no-brainer. They fix that problem fully and completely.
When dealing with a voice-enabled vending machine, a customer simply walks up to the vending machine and asks for what they want, using natural speech in a conversational tone. They never need to press any buttons at all and just need to pick up their snack - which they'll need to touch anyway if they intend to eat it.
Voice-enabled vending machines transform a potentially uncomfortable customer experience into an easy, natural, and frictionless experience in which both the vendor and the buyer win.
We've hinted at this above: traditional vending machines' customer experience is clunky and unnecessarily complicated. Here are a few simple examples.
There could be rows and rows of snacks or other items on a traditional vending machine. Some machines may even have a turnstile display requiring you to push some buttons to see the full selection. That takes time, and you're not even guaranteed to find what you're looking for.
With a smart vending machine, customers can simply ask if it has what they're looking for without having to scan every product it offers.
Another advantage is with so-called "freestyle" vending machines, which allow you to "customize" your product - typically food or beverage, in this case. So instead of punching in various number and letter combinations that correspond to a "large, decaffeinated coffee, with creme and two sugars," you can just ask the machine for a large, decaffeinated coffee with creme and two sugars and be done with it.
Smart vending machines also make for a better customer experience through their ability to provide useful information that would be impossible for a traditional vending machine.
For example, the only way to access an item's ingredients in a traditional vending machine would be to purchase it because the ingredients are only available on the item's packaging. But with a smart vending machine, one could just ask what the ingredients are or if the item contains a particular ingredient. For people with food allergies, this is a game-changer. Smart vending machines can also make personalized recommendations if a particular item is unavailable or the customer isn't sure what they want.
It's simply a snappier, more informative, and more personal experience.
More Data & Better Insights
Great customer experiences are fueled by data. You need to know what customers need and want to provide them with an experience that meets those needs and wants. In the context of vending machines, the most significant data points would be what sells and what doesn't. But with a traditional vending machine, the vendor will only get that information when the supplier restocks the machine and takes inventory - typically once a month. That creates a massive delay in a vendor's ability to adapt to its customers' needs.
Enter the smart vending machine, and vendors can assess what sells and what doesn't in real-time.
And because the smart vending machine is voice-enabled, customers talk to it, so it's able to provide the vendor with even more details than simply what's selling and what isn't. Are customers requesting an item that's not currently offered? Are they asking for more options for a specific item? These data points become available to the vendor with smart vending machines - and in real-time - giving them the ability to make more frequent and more informed adjustments.
Ai-powered voice tech is transforming the way we do so many things - and that now includes how we use vending machines. Regardless of which industry you're in, it probably won't be long before AI and voice tech brings about transformative changes to the way you do business.
It may be time for your organization to start a conversation about voice.
Modev was founded in 2008 on the simple belief that human connection is vital in the era of digital transformation. Today, Modev produces market-leading events such as VOICE Global, presented by Google Assistant, VOICE Summit, and the award-winning VOICE Talks internet talk show. Modev staff, better known as "Modevators," include community building and transformation experts worldwide. To learn more about Modev, and the breadth of events offered live and virtually, visit modev.com.