Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled and digitally connected vending machines and smart-stores in the food and beverage (F&B) industry are new-age retail distributors which will accelerate the growth of the sector, industry experts said on Thursday.
Speaking at a webinar on 'Intelligent Retailing', they also noted that consumer behaviour is changing in the F&B industry and intelligent retail backed with data insights will be the future.
ITC COO Foods - Chocolate, Coffee, Confectionery & New Category Development - Anuj Rustagi, said intelligent retailing helped by data enablers would drive the sector's growth.
Automated retail machines such as vending machines will use the power of data and serve consumers as per their requirement, he noted.
Deloitte India Partner Rajat Wahi said a lot of innovations are happening on this front for providing hot meals in places like offices and railways stations.
Marico Executive Vice President - Supply Chain, Nitin Kathuria said the vending machine has now become a different channel for the company and it has also customised its products for it.
Daalchini Technologies, which offers automated kiosks, mobility-retail, and smart vending machines, also released an in-house brand survey during the panel discussion.
According to the report, 75 per cent of the D2C (direct to consumer) brands believe that intelligent retail allows them to acquire new customers with low investment as compared to modern trade outlets (65 per cent), general trade (52 per cent) and distribution aggregators (42 per cent).
"95 per cent of the D2C brands anticipate future revenue growth with intelligent retail amid the pandemic as it provides safe and contactless home-cooked meals/snacks through its phy-gital technology.
"Additionally, they expect better revenue growth in the near future owing to the higher margins and profits by cutting out the middlemen," it said.
Moreover, 75 per cent of D2C brands have been using customer insights available through the Daalchini app and partner interface that highlights the significance of intelligent vending machines in terms of consumers' insights, it added.
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