Everyone remembers the old vending machines in restaurants, gas stations and public venues. Now you can find them also in retail, sometimes even in unmanned retail.
However, it’s not anything new. I remember visited Rivender‘s unmanned store even in Forssa, Finland (Read my tweet here) a while ago. In South Korea they are part of everyday life. In China one can find several chains using the concept. Asda in UK has been testing them since 2015. Read More Walmart has been using the tech with partners already long time.
So, why now U.S.? The reason lies in logistics and inventory management processes, which have been digitalized and optimized for this purpose. It will be interesting to see how IoT and AI will affect on this issue. That too is not anything new, but the future definitely is!