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12 Dec 2017

Could Vending Machines Replace Corner Shops?

Could Vending Machines Replace Corner Shops?

Vending machines have been around for over 100 years, with the first commercial coin operated machines dispensing postcards, envelopes and stamps. Over the years technology has developed and nowadays you can buy almost anything from a vending machine! In the UK, vending machines are commonly found in public bathrooms and in places where you might need a snack or beverage – such as a train station or hospital waiting room.

However, we have far fewer vending machines than other countries such as France and Japan. In the US, some college vending machines sell the morning after pill as a form of contraception and Japan is known for a number of strange machines selling noodles, eggs and live crabs. It’s also possible to buy high value items from vending machines, including electronics, with many machines being updated to take debit and credit cards, or become completely cashless.

According to The Times, in five years’ time most British vending machines will be cashless, and face recognition technology could also be used which is linked up to a bank account. It sounds crazy – but is this hi-tech futuristic world of vending machines just around the corner?

It seems like the rise of these innovative machines could eventually replace newsagents and corner shops. After all, what can you buy from a corner shop that you couldn’t buy from a vending machine? Even age restricted items such as cigarettes and alcohol could be legally sold by automatic machines if there was recognition technology which confirmed the customer’s age.

Manufacturing Vending Machines

Fascia Graphics is extremely excited about the prospect of a rise in vending machines and the development of vending technology in the UK. We could become a world leader in automatic machines, making on-the-go purchases more convenient.

It’s not just the retail sector which could benefit from the technology – the NHS has recently used vending machines to provide anonymous HIV testing kits. Machines like these could improve healthcare across the board and have the potential to save lives.

We often work in partnership with vending machine manufacturers to produce membrane keyboards, graphic overlays and bespoke labels. As automated machines have a high usage, it’s important that the membrane keypads are robust and built to last. The mechanics of the automated machines are important, but it’s also vital to give customers operating the vending machine a positive experience.

What do you think about vending machines replacing the traditional corner shop – could vending technology be used more in society?

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