AI Vending Machines: 7 Implications for the Vending Industry

employees using ai vending machine technology

Like every other industry and technology these days, vending machines are starting to use artificial intelligence. AI vending machines are the industry’s future, enhancing the experience for customers, workers, and business owners. Learn more about the implications of vending machine AI capability and how it’s shaping the industry.

1. Data Collection and Analysis

AI needs data to learn and make better decisions, so data collection is one of the most important considerations. Almost every future vending industry trend revolves around the immense data ingestion and analysis AI performs. It’s important to understand that data drives most AI vending machine trends, as information is power in marketing and management.

Before AI, data collection was still a driving force in marketing. But with AI, it’s even more powerful because it can collect and analyze the data to reach insightful conclusions and offer solutions. Vending companies now have abundant data at their fingertips, allowing them to cater to customers more precisely while increasing revenue.

2. Better Customer Experience

Vending machine AI integration focuses heavily on improving the customer experience. The key, of course, is satisfying customers so they bring their business back to you.

Below are just a few ways AI is enhancing the customer experience to be more robust, interesting, and convenient.

Customization and Personalization

Nowadays, customization and personalization are everything for consumers. Everyone wants a curated experience that caters to them, and vending machine AI systems can do this.

AI can recommend products, offer enticing discounts, and give loyalty rewards to individual customers. So Sam (who loves doughnuts) may get a $1 coupon off doughnuts, while Mike (who frequently drinks Red Bull beverages) gets a BOGO deal on a new energy drink.

Smart Device Integration

Soon, vending machines will be one more thing you can control from your phone, if customers would like this to happen.

AI vending machines can connect to people’s smartphones, showing them inventory, dynamic pricing, discounts, locations, and more. In return, AI uses this connection to collect data and create an even more personalized experience.

Touchless Machines

Many people prefer touchless experiences to reduce the spread of germs and bacteria. Advanced vending machines can activate for customers using facial recognition, voice commands, and biometric measurements. Smart device integration also creates a touchless experience.

Gaming Integrations

Vending machine gaming integrations are one of the industry’s newest AI applications. Machines can offer an interactive, stimulating, and fun experience. This could involve small games, entertaining videos, dynamic graphics, and even small prizes, like a free drink or snack.

Even if they are not hungry or thirsty, customers can be attracted to this gaming element of vending machine AI, which is still in its infancy, but will likely become widespread.

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3. Optimized Inventory Management

Optimized inventory management is one of the most wonderful implications of AI vending machines. AI vending machines can track product freshness, popularity, target demographic, and more. These smart systems can remove expired items, push products that are closer to expiration, show consumer trends, and help curate inventory orders.

For example, an AI vending machine may notice that hot chocolate is only popular from October to February. The machine can recommend only stocking the beverage during this timeframe.

The power of smart inventory management is massive, as it can better cater to customers, move products faster, and reduce wasted products. Consumer trends can be unpredictable, but vending machine AI systems make them easier to track than ever.

4. Optimized Machine Management

Few things are as frustrating as visiting a vending machine when you have an empty stomach and realizing it is out of order. Artificial intelligence can reduce machine downtime by monitoring machine performance.

AI operational monitoring alerts the maintenance team to any issues, which can then be remedied as quickly as possible. Rather than a week of downtime, a machine may only be out of service for less than 24 hours.

Predictive maintenance can send alerts before problems manifest, ensuring machines stay in tip-top shape. They may be scheduled reminders to service machines, keeping maintenance tasks organized.

The automated alerts free up time for maintenance workers, allowing the team to focus on machines that need attention rather than manually checking every machine in the area.

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5. Sustainability

Many industries, including the vending machine industry, want to shift toward more sustainable practices. An AI-powered vending machine can be more sustainable with certain features.

Energy Conservation

Like so many modern devices, from electric cars to iPhones, AI vending machines can assess environmental factors to save energy. If an outdoor vending machine is in 5º F weather, it can reduce its temperature settings. If there is a lull in activity, it can enter “sleep” mode to use less power. AI vending machines can thoughtfully manage energy use and power themselves on and off as needed.

Waste Reduction

AI systems can do wonders to showcase products nearing expiration and monitor freshness. Vending machine owners often have to throw away expired products. Any reduction in this product waste will save machine owners money and help the planet. This product waste can be caused by something simple, such as nearly expired products being hidden at the bottom of the display. AI can make adjustments to avoid as much waste as possible.

6. Increased Revenue and Savings

Many of these features can increase revenue and savings for vending machine owners and managers.

Energy conservation, waste reduction, improved customer experience, and smart inventory management can all reduce operation costs or increase profits. However, dynamic pricing might be the biggest factor in increasing revenue.

Dynamic pricing means product costs will change depending on supply, demand, and other factors. For example, coffee and energy drinks may be priced higher in the morning, while snack prices rise in the afternoon.

The obvious benefit is that machine owners make more profit from high-demand items. Customers can also benefit when they purchase low-demand items for at a reduced cost.

Dynamic pricing also ties into inventory management. Discounting nearly expired products and suggesting that merchandizers place them to the front of the display means machines can sell products that would otherwise be thrown away.

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7. Skill Shifts for Workers

As artificial intelligence infiltrates industry after industry, many workers worry about job stability. However, AI in the vending machine industry is not replacing workers. Instead, it’s enhancing their capability in current roles and leading to potentially more exciting ones.

Artificial intelligence can handle mundane and simple tasks like simple data analysis, while humans can focus on more complex and creative tasks that push the business forward.

For example, in the future, a merchandizer will be given powerful predictive technology that helps them decided what products to include in a machine at a specific time of the month. The aim is for AI to make workers’ jobs easier and more fulfilling, not obsolete.

The Future of AI Vending Machine Technology

People’s need for convenient snacks and drinks isn’t going anywhere. Artificial intelligence will enhance the experience for owners, customers, and workers.

The future of the vending industry is exciting as we discover innovative ways to use this ever-advancing technology. Contact Prestige today to join the vending machine industry and be part of the most technologically advanced company in the industry!