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Vending Times reports that Kroger is looking to satisfy the convenience store needs of students at Ohio Northern University by making available to them a nine foot tall robotic vending machine that can dispense some 200 items - including beverages, refrigerated meals, cleaning supplies and OTC medicines.

According to the story, the Shop24 vending machine “accepts cash and credit, debit and supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) cards, as well as student meal cards.”

The story notes that this is the second vending machine that Kroger has tested, the first one being located at one of the company’s gas stations. It also says that “Shop24 Global LLC says its automated convenience stores have been installed in more than 250 locations in 15 countries and have over 150 million transactions.”
KC's View:
I got a real sense of deja vu reading this story - it seems like the first time I read and/or wrote about Shop24 was decades ago. If I’m not mistaken, I saw one of its installations at ANUGA or SIAL, and I raved at the time that these would shortly find a home in the US.

I’m glad I didn’t put a time frame on that prediction. (At least, I don’t remember one...)

The thing is, I’ve always thought that these sorts of vending machines made a ton of sense, allowing retailers to extend their brands into different places and create a differentiated competitive offer. I still think they will have a place long-term, though it is taking a lot longer than I thought...