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2004-04-23 17:02:39.783974+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

I've mentioned companies like eMachineShop, and extensively used ExpressPCB, but when MyPublisher hit my inbox I realized something critical: The "give away software that sends data to your service" replaces the guy behind the counter who knows stuff at your local specialty shop with something better; there's no ego involved and no feeling of time wasted in my playing "how much would idea X cost?" And while those guys behind the counter are great in their specialty, if you're trying to adapt devices from their industry to something else they're a drain.

Yesterday's J-list email update was about vending machines in Japan, coincidentally Borklog linked to PhotoMann Travel Photography - Images of Vending Machines In Japan, and I realized that if you look at the self-checkout systems at stores like Wal*Mart and Home Depot and the automation of the customer-client relationship at Prada, it's clear that the next jobs to get automated are in customer service.

[ related topics: New Economy Consumerism and advertising ]

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#Comment Re: made: 2004-04-23 17:33:00.452645+00 by: other_todd [edit history]

Not to mention, Dan, the article in the Boston Globe yesterday about Staples putting in vending machines selling office and productivity supplies to the business commuters at Logan Airport.

I'm going to quote three germane bits, rather than link, because it will be gone from the Globe archives by the time you see this:

"While no one actually used the two red vending machines sitting across from US Airways's ticket counters in Terminal B one afternoon this week, plenty of passers-by stopped to get a closer look at what was inside. Many of them said they welcomed the convenience, even if it often comes at a higher price."


"Staples is just one of many retailers now experimenting with so-called nontraditional vending to sell products at higher prices with lower overhead, said Michael Kasavana, a hospitality business professor at Michigan State University, where Staples has two vending machines.

"The ability of vending machines to accept credit cards is driving the trend, as is the appeal of being able to reach consumers at times when traditional retail stores aren't open, he said.

"'Cashless payment systems allow you to get a lot more for products,' he said. 'People aren't going to necessarily have $50 in their pocket, but they'll use a credit card.'"


"[Spokeswoman Deborah] Hohler would not say how many vending machines Staples was testing or their locations, citing company policy against detailing experimental efforts. But vending machines are not Staples's first foray into alternative retail channels. The company once had a handful of retail stores in airports, including Logan, but has since shuttered them.

"A clue of the potential scope of the vending-machine experiment is a similar test the company did in 2000, when it put kiosks linked to its website in 20 of its then 1,200 stores. The chain now has 1,600 stores."