Smart Vending Machines
HyperVend recently announced the availability of the industry’s first smart refrigerated parcel lockers for fresh flowers. Such lockers come as the result of listening to our customers and providing a solution to a long-existing delivery problem, as well as addressing a new and evolving delivery challenge.
These refrigerated lockers can be cooled to 35-44 degrees and 85% humidity, and, as such, keep perishables fresh longer than standard dry ice or gel packs that are used in shipping packaging by online retailers. Although “perishable items” are what initially comes to mind when thinking of items that exist in your refrigerator or freezer, you will be surprised to know there is much more than just perishable items that require refrigeration.
Here are the top 6 perishables that require delivery to refrigerated lockers:
- Food: let’s start with the obvious: perishable groceries – fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, fish, dairy products, and much more – need to be kept at a low temperature in order to remain fresh and slow bacteria growth (freezing stops this entirely). And, as evidenced by Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, the growth of groceries purchased online is set to explode. Online grocery sales are expected to reach $9.4 billion this year alone, and grow 5-fold over the next decade, with Americans spending $100 billion on food-at home items by 2025. Food deliveries that are shipped to front doors of working residents will surely spoil (or possibly get stolen!) if not refrigerated quickly after they arrive.
- Beverages: Accompanying food are beverages, such as milk, cream, and fruit or vegetable juices that can also spoil if not refrigerated. In addition, connoisseurs of certain beers, ales or other specialty alcoholic liquors may desire that such drinks remain cold throughout their journeys from the brewers to their own refrigerators.
- Meal Kits: Packaged, fresh, ready-to-prepare meal kits, which delivered right to homes or multi-family communities are also growing in popularity. Food consulting firm Pentallect estimates meal kits are currently a $2.2 billion business and will grow 25-30 per cent annually over the next 5 years. Some meal kit providers specialize in niches such as for vegans or non-GMO eaters, while other are generating buzz through branding relationships with celebrities such as Beyonce or Martha Stewart. One of the best-known providers, Blue Apron, went public this year, and Amazon just entered the space with its own Amazon Fresh meal kits.
- Flowers (and other plants): Delivering fresh flowers has long proven a challenge to the flower industry. While delivery trucks themselves may be air conditioned, flowers fade and wilt quickly when not stored in a cool place. Flowers and certain plants need to be kept at a low temperature in order to breathe and intake food properly, and low temperatures furthermore slow down the growth of bacteria and other micro-organisms, which can extend their vase lives.
- Medications: the list of medications that require refrigeration is a long one; but these includes insulin, penicillin (of the pronounceable names at least!) and many more gels, vials, cartridges, drops, solutions, and kits. Even gummy vitamins will melt if kept in the sun. According to IMS Health, the mail order pharmacy market accounted for $38.1 billion in sales in 2014, with sales increasing almost 25 per cent over the previous year. Due to evolving demographics and familiarity with online ordering, mail order pharmacies are expected to see a significant increase in patient utilization and the number of prescriptions being dispensed. As such, Amazon is considering adding online prescriptions to its offerings, and even Uber launched a drug store delivery service.
- Anything that can melt: many consumer items can melt if left in the sun or heat. Perishable products can also include cosmetics (e.g. lipstick), wax items (e.g. candles, crayons), collectibles (e.g. record albums or tapes), or even miscellaneous forms of plastic (e.g. auto parts, beads, utensils toys, etc.).
- Refrigerated lockers represent a long-needed solution to delivering perishable goods to multi-family communities – and the opportunity for property managers to offer a needed, value-add service to their residents.
- While these six categories represent the top products that our customers are requesting be delivered to refrigerated parcel lockers, this list is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. We’ll keep everyone posted as more applications are discovered in the months ahead.