ATLANTA — Airport vending machines selling lots more than candy and soda have been around for years, but there’s a new flight pattern forming in terminals.
With growing legalization of CBD products, self-service retailing is now embracing those products, and in some cases swapping them in for old-school staples like travel products and computer accessories.
Take William Swift, for example. Swift, who has been in automated retailing for more than 30 years and is president of Business Travelers Service Inc., Atlanta, has rolled with the times.
Swift has diversified in part because he understands an airport’s clientele, which includes a lot of affluent, captive visitors on the move, Retail Customer Experience reported. Also affecting the decision is the ability to showcase such products in an unattended space.
"Airports are an unusual venue for the sale of product through an automated store," Swift told Retail Consumer Experience. "The volume of traffic under normal conditions is exceptional to say the least."
Swift’s company operates 30-plus attended and automated retail spots in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, with two of them being Green Spirit Rx CBD machines, RCE noted.
These self-service machines, from Vancouver-based Chemesis International, promise enhanced customer experience, product education, rewards programs, media and advertising, an AI virtual assistant and product tracking, according to the company’s website.
In addition, the machines offer rich media and sound, modular shelves and loss prevention. An age verification app involves photographing a customer's state ID, driver’s license or passport, uploading it for certification as being of legal age, and then going through a one-time verification to use a credit card.
Loss prevention includes capturing all customer interactions with photo and video, and shatterproof glass and anti-tipping technology. Also, UV technology self-sanitizes products and surfaces for 90 seconds after each customer uses the kiosk, promoting health and safety.
Chemesis has partners to help stock a machine with CBD brands and products.
Shoppers can take and examine a product from a machine prior to purchase. When a customer removes the product from the shelf, a video informs him or her about the product, RCE reported, and voice technology answers a shopper’s questions. If the customer returns the product, the shopper is not charged. If he or she does, sensors in the shelf note that and charge the customer’s account.