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Vending Machines: A Low-Cost Option For Retail Expansion

1vendingRetailers far and wide are constantly looking to up the ante on the shopping experience and make it more fun for digitally savvy consumers. Snapchat and Uniqlo are making things a bit more interesting with a new twist on an old technology: vending machines — which is even helping Uniqlo expand its footprint without a big commitment.

Since Snap Inc., the social media company that runs Snapchat, launched its Spectacles sunglasses in 2016, they’ve been almost impossible to get. The company released a handful of temporary vending machines around the country, which resulted in long lines of consumers waiting to get their hands on a pair. Now, consumers in Las Vegas have a chance to score the popular sunglasses at The LINQ Promenade shopping center, the new home to a branded vending machine for the summer.

Spectacles are sunglasses with a built-in camera in the frame that allows users to take hands-free photos and videos from their point of view. The glasses are sold through a Snapbot, an interactive yellow vending machine allowing consumers to virtually try on and purchase a pair of Spectacles.

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“Spectacles are popping up all over the world and driving more excitement with every location,” said Shaun Swanger, VP and General Manager of The LINQ Promenade in a statement. “The LINQ Promenade is an ideal destination for this offering, where locals and tourists alike can get in on the action, creating Snaps with The LINQ Promenade and iconic High Roller observation wheel as the backdrop.”

Snap Inc. isn’t the only company using vending machines to stock vending machines with unconventional products. Uniqlo recently announced plans to launch 10 vending machines in U.S. airports and shopping malls in an effort to boost its physical footprint, The Wall Street Journal reported. The retailer will sell apparel, including lightweight down jackets in airports, to tempt shoppers traveling to a cold destination who forgot to pack warm clothes.

The retailer currently operates 45 stores in the U.S. and is now using vending machines, pop-ups and some flagship locations to expand. “We’re trying to understand where we can be more successful without making a big commitment,” Marisol Tamaro, Uniqlo’s U.S. Marketing Chief, told WSJ.

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