UK retailer Co-op has partnered with Unilever to launch a new smart ice cream vending machine in its Battersea Bridge Road store in London.
According to the retailer, the machine is the UK’s first and only consumer-facing smart ice cream vending machine. The Walls branded machine stocks a range of ice cream products including Co-op’s Fairtrade Choc Stick; Magnum Vegan Stick; Walls Twister; Solero and more.
To buy ice cream products from the machine, consumers need to tap their phone on the “NFC” tag on the vending machine. Customers are then prompted to confirm their payment method, including Apple Pay and Google Pay. Once payment is confirmed, the freezer door unlocks to allow the customer to select their chosen ice cream, with a combination of cameras and sensors ensuring the machine charges customers for only the products they have picked once they close the freezer door.
The launch of the machine comes as the retailer continues to explore ways to make shopping more convenient for consumers. Previous schemes included a trial of pay-in-aisle technology in 2018.
Rebecca Oliver-Mooney, Co-op’s head of category for dairy & frozen, said: “We continue to explore innovative ways to provide access to our products quickly, easily and more conveniently helping to delight and inspire our shoppers.
“With warmer, summer months now just around the corner, we are delighted to team up with Unilever to bring this smart vending machine to our store for shoppers to pop in for ices. Over the coming months, we aim to have more than 20 of the machines in selected stores or at outdoor events.”
Neil Mirtle, Unilever customer business manager, added: “We are delighted to see the Walls Smart Vending Machine go live in Co-op.
“Collaborating on this project started with the goal of making ice cream more accessible for shoppers and then testing and learning at pace. We look forward to partnering with Co-op on the further rollout”.