In recent years, vending machines have gone from lunch room relics intent on eating your quarters and holding onto your Sun Chips to high-tech automated kiosks that sell everything from DVDs to ice cream, wine, beauty products, useless Farmville crap, electronics, designer bags and much more. But are they here to stay or is this just a trend?
For customers, kiosks provide convenience, instant gratification and a way to get out of dealing with potentially rude employees. They provide many of the benefits of online shopping with the added plus that you don’t have to wait for your purchase to get lost by UPS or FedEx.
Kiosks can also be a boon to operators of shopping malls and retail stores. According to the Houston Chronicle, these automated Kiosks can generate upward of $10,000/year per square foot, several times the average of $330/year for retail floor space in a mall.
Where do you see the kiosk trend going — Are there certain products that you can’t ever see being sold in this fashion? And what about the potential loss of jobs for those replaced by automated kiosks?