India is highly under-penetrated when it comes to unmanned retail with just one machine for 10,000 customers,” says Aroon Khatter, founder and CEO, Vendekin Technologies. This Pune-based hardware-enabled SaaS firm has introduced, what it terms “the world’s first”, unattended retail aggregator platform called V-commerce.
This new platform is a one-stop solution that brings consumers, vending machine operators, FMCG companies, vending equipment and technology providers and financiers on a common platform. Over 20 vending machine operators including Vendiman, Instago, Grabbit, Snackit, 24buy7 Vending Machines with a network of 2500 vending machines across 20 cities have already joined the platform. Over 20 brands including leading FMCG players such as Coca-Cola, Nestle and Godrej are a part of the platform. Over the next five years, Vendekin expects the platform to power sales worth over $100 million just in India.
“Through our V-commerce platform, we are looking to democratise unattended retail, make it easy for new players to enter the market and also connect the operators, brands and other players in the ecosystem with each other to unlock value for everyone,” said Khatter.
For those looking to start their own vending business, the V-Commerce platform offers not just Vendekin’s patented technology that enables a touchless mobile purchase experience for consumers but also access to credible, reliable and transparent sources for equipment, inventory, technology, capital leasing and financing all in one place. The platform also connects vending machine operators directly with FMCG companies, thereby enabling them to access products of their choice with a few clicks, at better margins.
With a CAGR of 9-11%, the Indian retail market is projected to reach $1.3 trillion by 2025, according to management consulting firm BCG.
At the same time, the vending machine market is expected to grow by 15% CAGR in India, driven by socio-demographic and economic factors. India has over 6.5 million potential locations for vending machines across 500 cities including hospitals, workplaces, public places such as metro and railway stations, factories, ATM locations and residential places such as apartments, PGs and hostels.
“Leading F&B brands today are going all out to create new consumer touchpoints and experiences and unmanned retail is set to be a big part of their plans given the variety of use cases it offers, for example, offices, schools, apartment communities and metro stations,” he says.
For FMCG brands, Vendekin’s platform means easy and quick access to the already existing vending infrastructure. Brands do not need to make capital expenditure on equipment when getting started with unattended retail and can instead tap Vendekin’s platform to drive sales, marketing and brand presence on the new channel. With Vendekin’s capability to share consumer-level hyperlocal purchase insights and consumption trends, FMCG brands can run highly targeted cross-platform promotions and loyalty programmes, optimise marketing and promotion budgets, as well as use this data for easier calls to action for other sales channels as well.