Automated Vending Kiosks

This is the most impersonal form of retailing. However, it provides convenience to the customers, as they have access to the products round the clock. It is popular form of retailing abroad and is used to sell routinely purchased items like soft drinks, candy, cigarettes and newspapers, while tea and coffee vending machines are a popular sight at the airports in India, the Automated Teller Machines operated by banks are perhaps the most successful example of automated vending in India. The tea and coffee machines are rarely completely automated and unattended as in India the cost of labor is still cheap.

Kiosks have their applications in different areas of retail like within the retail environment as I-Kiosks which aim to provide access to far more products than the physical store can stock. Applications can also be seen across the government sector, banking and tourism, where not only information is provided but other facilities like transit routes and the ability to create personalized itineraries may also be provided. Large retailers like McDonald’s are using kiosks to let customers key in orders at some restaurants.

The cash & carry:

The term ‘Cash & Carry’ means that customers do their own order picking pay in cash and carry the merchandize away. The cash and carry is a wholesale format that aids small retailers and businessmen. The advantages that this format has over the traditional wholesale operations are:

1) It offers a wide assortment of goods, food and non-food items, thus providing for one stop shopping and allowing the customer to save time.
2) Give the permanent availability of goods in the store, the customer can always purchase goods he needs and is able to store and finance them in the short term. Thus, despite the principle of cash payment, cash & carry largely takes over the function of financing and stockholding on behalf of its customers.
3) Longer business hours per week enabling the customer to do his shopping at a convenient time, seven days a week.

This format has been featured in this section ion retail formats as two of the largest groups that operate under the cash and carry format viz Metro AG, Germany and Shoprite of South Africa, have started their operations in India. The Bharati-Wal-Mart tie up is also likely to start operations under this format in the year 2008.

Airport retailing: The past decades have witnessed rapid changes in the air travel industry. Retail is becoming increasingly important for airport operators. Gone is the age where airports were passenger processors, the time when traveling was just a hassle with passengers moaning and complaining about long waits and dull surroundings. We are now in era where airports are focusing on retail to convert airports into exciting, energized business and retail / entertainment centers – as well as transportation hubs.

Airports in many cities of the western world, the Far East and Middle East serve mini shopping plazas for the travelers, while the trend is yet to catch on in India. Dramatic changes swept airport retailing when long term, 20 to 30 year concession contracts began expiring. It made airports realize more and more that with capital investment, good customer service and good pricing, plus a little imagination they could generate some attractive revenue.

Across the world, major airports that are upgrading or adding terminals are equipping them with copies mounts of retails and restaurant space. Many attribute this to the success of British Airports authority (BAA) managed Airmall at Pittsburgh International Airport in late 1992.the Airmall concept, practiced street pricing and featured airport store firsts for such national retailers as Brokestone, Creative Kidstuff, Gap, Johnston & Murphy and Timberland, s well as some of the more creative local vendors quickly caught on at other airports. As a result of the effective pricing Pittsburgh more than tripled airport retail in a relatively short span

While airport retailing isn’t the same as mall retailing, it is not uncommon for many international airport stores to enjoy a lofty sales average of about $1,000 per square foot – about triple that of traditional malls. However, there is no single mantra for assured success. Airport stores are also much smaller than those in conventional malls, storage space is nonexistent and the profiles of the customer vary as the profile of the traveler varies. For the employees it may often mean a long commute to work, heavy security and remote parking. The logistical exercise of getting goods to the airport store is also complex, as airports are typically ruled by fixed and limited hours of delivery, Despite these encumbrances, retail has become an important element of the airport experience and the reasons for the same can be summarized s given below:

1) Increase in the number of air travelers
2) Deregulation and liberalization of trade and air travel across America and Europe
3) Decline of state control of the airports
4) Increased airport congestions.