Two stories show the lengths retailers will go to remove friction from the buying process. First, there’s The Sock Spot, which has created several automated retail units deployed at the Westfield San Francisco Centre shopping mall. Some 40 pairs of novelty socks — specialized to shoppers in the San Francisco area — are available from a cashless vending machine. The Sock Spot has been selling its products online for a couple of years. As more and more direct-to-consumer and digital native brands move into physical retail, vending machines might provide a bridge, particularly for those smaller products.
Meanwhile in Australia, Domino’s continues to look for ways to remove the human equation from pizza delivery; it’s testing cashless stores at five locations. Customers can pay using ApplePay, Android Pay or PayPal either in-store or for delivery. The company also has experimented with drones and self-driving vehicles.