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Smart Vending Machine : the "right now " difference for wholesale distribution


Every CEO of Wholesale I have met are obsessed about one thing : that a market place like Amazon could eat into his volume turn over and squeeze him to death, and what is keeping him  awake at night is how to resist positively.

Here we can summarize the different strategies we often hear :


  • Be flawless at execution and offer new free services to pre-empt customers who may consider shifting to a marketplace

  • For E-commerce Push on volume product content rather than Product volume with little content

  • Keep the  sales reps very  knowledgeable so that they can give some high value added advice that a large Marketplace like Amazon is unable to provide

  • Use technology to find new ways to delight the customer and this is exactly  where Smart Vending Machines present  a real opportunity


At SAP offices we installed lately a Smart Vending machine where one can get IT stuff like Headsets, power supply, Lightning cable,…  you choose the product, pass the badge and pick the item up.

The product is automatically charged to their cost center. People are just delighted because they get the stuff “ right now “. Whereas before it was an order to raise on the portal and receive the item 2 days later.

This is even better than the famous 2 hour premium delivery. This is “right now “.

In this example The Smart vending machine is directly connected to ARIBA, so the process is  the same when the employee orders on the portal to the wholesale distributor, just the front end interface  is changed into a smart vending machine delivering the most wanted products immediately.


But we could have also examples of Smart vending machines on a building site delivering some key goods for their job of plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and all craftsmen of any kind so that they could get “right now “ instead of going to pick it at home or to returning to the agency to buy it.

These people consider time as golden and would be delighted to find the items they need on site, immediately.

More than the SVM , you can also think about a smart container that would be more relevant for larger products, recognizing the credit card, monitoring the pick up by Video and self-scanning,  triggering an “Uber payment “


All these kind of Smart vending Scenarios will need in addition :

  • A strong predictive algorithm to suggest the best product to set in the building site among the thousands in the catalog

  • A price elasticity  algorithm to estimate the value of the immediate delivery. What money a plumber would pay to avoid loosing time.

  • Check the technical status of each machine to keep maintenance at the expected level by craftsmen.

  • Check of the Sales figures, to supervise that the suggested articles meet the expected success.


This will bring to wholesalers

  • A positive resistance to Marketplace delivering a service they do not propose.

  • Increased margin as price is less of a problem when time is saved

  • A new customer base as they  will enter their name and details without questioning it as long as they get the stuff they need “right now”.



So what are you waiting for Mr. Wholesale Distribution ?




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