Co-op has teamed up with Unilever to “scoop” an ice-cream first with a smart vending machine unveiled in store for shoppers, commuters and tourists wanting to pop in for ices quickly and conveniently.
The convenience retailer has installed the UK’s only consumer-facing smart ice-cream vending machine in its Battersea Bridge Road store in London as it continues to explore ways to make shopping quicker, easier and more convenient for consumers.
An interactive Walls branded machine stocks a range of ices including Co-op’s Fairtrade Choc Stick; Magnum Vegan Stick; Walls Twister; Solero Exotic Lolly; Calippo Orange and, Ben & Jerry’s Peace Pop.
By simply tapping their phone on the NFC tag on the vending machine shoppers are asked to confirm their payment method, including Apple Pay and Google Pay. Once confirmed, the freezer door unlocks to allow the customer to select their favourite 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.
Rebecca Oliver-Mooney, Co-op’s head of category for dairy and 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, said: “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.”