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What is Automated Retail?

The Future of Self-Service

The world of retail is taking a new turn with the evolution of technology. In the past decade, the retail industry has experienced a lot of revolutionary changes, bringing about an entirely new approach to shopping. Automated retail is an innovative concept that is transforming the traditional retail experience. As more people demand convenience and efficiency, the use of automated retailing is becoming increasingly popular. In this blog post, we’ll dive deeper into what automated retail is and why businesses are adopting this model.


Automated retail is a self-service approach that operates as a fully automatic retail store by using software integrations and cutting-edge technologies to provide a seamless shopping experience. These retail kiosks are designed to minimize cost, save time, and maximize revenue for businesses. These automated retail stores are often located in heavily trafficked areas or can be used inside retail stores to automate sales transactions, providing convenience to shoppers.


Customers can shop for products easily on a touchscreen interface, choose a product, and make a payment using a credit or debit card. The automatic retailing system seeks to personalize the customer experience to build a loyal customer base, which ultimately translates to business growth. The products available in these kiosks range from consumer electronics, clothing, beauty products, snacks, and so much more.

Automated retail stores also differ from vending machines in that they feature robotic arms that aid in the dispensing of products instead of gravity-fed drop systems. Furthermore, software integrations operate the machines, giving businesses real-time insights such as sales reports, inventory management, and product performance.

ZoomSystems and Redbox are successful businesses that operate under the automated retail business model. ZoomSystems started as a company in 2002 with the idea of selling electronics. However, over time, the company diversified its products to include various items such as beauty products, snacks, and beverages. Its unique design and user-friendly interface have attracted customers and made it a successful venture. Swyft wholly acquired ZoomSystems in November 2017.



What is Automated Retail?
A ZoomSystems automated retail store is placed next to a Swyft automated retail store

On the other hand, Redbox is a U.S.-based business that offers DVD and Blu-Ray movie rentals. The company started in 2004 and has since grown to become a convenient and affordable way to watch your favorite movies. With more than forty thousand kiosks in major cities across the US, Redbox has proven that the automated retail business model is a viable option.

In recent years, other businesses such as CVS Pharmacy, Amazon, and Sephora have also started to invest in the self-service model. CVS Pharmacy partnered with Swyft to introduce health products, snacks, and over-the-counter medicine, while Sephora partnered with ZoomSystems to provide beauty products like lipsticks, fragrances, and skincare products. Amazon is focused on using an automated retail model to offer an efficient and personalized shopping experience through its “Just Walk Out” technology.


The future of retail is highly dependent on cutting-edge technology and innovation. The rise of automated retail has revolutionized traditional retail, providing convenience, speed, and personalization. With an intuitive interface, software integrations, and robotic dispensing, it's no wonder that businesses are exploring and embracing this model. Going forward, it's clear that automated retailing is not just a passing trend, but a viable option that can drive customer satisfaction, business growth, and ultimately lead to successful ventures.

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