Sunday, August 6, 2017

The future of retail may soon be primarily online, or through vending machines

2017 has been the year of many things, but in particular it has signaled the potential end for brick and mortar retail stores.  And just as online portals like Amazon and Alibaba wrest market share from almost every segment of the retail economy, there is one other potential industry that is getting a rejuvenation thanks to roboticss and technological advancements in automation.

And that is, the return of the vending machine.

Image courtesy of Berenice Abbott/N.Y.P.L., The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs

From the 1920's to the 1950's, vending machines were all the rage, and a prelude to the future as they represented the quick delivery of food, beverages, and before the societal attacks on them, cigarettes.  And while the period from 1980 to 2010 saw most vending machines become relegated to simply dispensing sodas and snacks, 2016 may actually have been the start of the next phase in fast delivery portals, thanks in part to individuals being able to pay for their items using a debit card, or a smart phone.

Here is a list of just a few vending machines already operational, and where advances in robotics should expand this number much higher in just a few short years.


Fully cooked Pizza:



unique Vending Machine

Fully cooked burritos:


Marijuana ATM:


An Entire Restaurant:


Live Bait:




And soon to appear in the market, automobile vending machines.

Autobahn Motor’s automobile vending machine is inspired from a Matchbox toy car display.
Image courtesy of Autobahn Motors


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