The Rise of Automated Retail

We may not quite be at the level of replicators and flying cars yet, but the sci-fi future is nearing closer every day. The most recent merger of retail and technology? Automated retail.

From stores like Amazon Go to vending machines, to micro-markets, and beyond, contactless retail is growing — and it doesn’t look like it will be stopping anytime soon.

Retail Insider recently reported about Box’d, by Paramount Fine Foods, which is Canada’s first fully automated restaurant. It’s opening in Toronto this summer and will allow diners to place their orders via a mobile app or at a digital kiosk in the store. The whole process, from ordering to pick-up, will be contactless.

Even before COVID-19, automated retail was on the rise.

Retail Insider reported in 2018 that the estimated 2.6 million smart vending machine units worldwide in 2017 were expected to grow to 5.4 million by 2022. Additionally, the sales lift for pop-up retail (including vending machines and kiosks) can be 35% or greater than a typical, more permanent store.

And vending machines are no longer just for food.

Kiosks such as Best Buy Express™ are found at many airports. Other vending machines may sell office supplies in a commercial setting or a library; clean socks at a bowling alley; toys in a waiting room; and so on. The possibilities are endless…

Why go automated? There are many good reasons if you’re not already in the space:

  • More convenience for customers.
  • Be more places – for example, your customers may go somewhere where you can’t have a full retail location (like a library) but they still need some essentials.
  • Opens another product distribution channel.
  • Reduces overhead expenses and costs as less staff is needed to maintain.
  • With COVID-19, it allows for increased safety and physical distancing. We don’t know what the future will bring for public health guidelines, but we may see more automated options cropping up, like Box’d.

Did you know that Storesupport Canada supports automated retail merchandising? We’ll ensure that your vending machines are kept stocked, provide education at micro-markets (for staff and customers!), and more.

Learn all about our automated retail solutions at

Has your brand gone automated? Let us know on social media. Storesupport Canada is on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

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