Wednesday, 19 July 2017 19:25

PRIM shows how proper vending is done in 2017

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If you’re tired of the traditional, dumb vending machine, and wished they could be brought into the 21st century, then your order has just been delivered into the chute.

“Just chute me” sounds like a term David Spade would have made, but it may well be your pleased expression when you positively experience what modern-day machine vending is finally like.

It comes from an enterprising Australian interactive media company named Powder Room Interactive Media (PRIM) using claimed “world-first” technology to “reinvent traditional vending and innovate the digital out-of-home industry for today’s screen and social media obsessed culture with a world-first touchscreen interactive portal that allows consumers to ‘chat’ with brands and buy or sample their products".

The PRIM and proper digital portals “combine customised app-style software with sampling hardware which transform digital displays into real-time conversations between brands and consumers and sales – with endless digital applications from gaming, social, artificial intelligence, RIFD integration and much more".

Using the Android OS and compatible hardware to integrate interactive touchscreens, vending machine motherboards and a cloud-based management system, retailers using the technology are able to collect instant, valuable consumer data for brands and themselves.

Naturally, PRIM reports signing up a growing number of major brands “keen to tap into its exclusive network of 300 retail portals and digital displays at Australian airports located across the country which currently reach 280,000 people each day".

We’re told that the digital portals “feature 32-inch HD LCD interactive touchscreens with app-style software that have the ability to run TVCs with audio, display point of sale and product content as well as allow simple ‘tap and go’ credit card or cash transactions, a customer-focused application for today’s cashless society".

So, how has the technology fared with the big brands, whose big brands will be inside PRIM’s promising profit centres?

Well, PRIM proudly boasts that “leading FMCG Brands such as Colgate-Palmolive, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and Nivea have jumped on board to use the innovative sales and marketing tool as part of larger marketing campaigns or bespoke executions, tapping into PRIM’s extensive national network".

It even reminds me of the fact that there’s a store in Melbourne that is only stocked with vending machines, and no staff! I’ve no idea if any of PRIM’s technology is in play at that store, but it’s clearly a sign of the times today – and the future.

Leading into this is PRIM’s statement that, “as the out-of-home advertising industry booms, fuelled by digital technology, brands are increasingly seeking out opportunities to make their out-of-home work harder, looking for solutions that allow campaign customisation for the time of day, different geographical markets as well as testing on creative or even price – offering valuable insight on who their consumer is, the content they respond to and how to best interact with them".

PRIM properly continues: “The advantage of interactive out-of-home technology for trialling products is consumers are actively requesting trial samples, which eliminates the wastage of traditional advertising. It also gets the products into the consumer’s hands in real time, unlike product giveaways offered through websites or digital advertising.”

PRIM managing director and founder Michelle Davis noted the “opportunity for brands to create moments that give consumers what they need and want at the right time and place is endless through the development of this new out-of-home technology which allows instant access to a network of over two million customers per week".

Davis said: “Product sampling has been stuck in the same stagnant place for so many years and our vision for Powder Room Interactive Media, through embracing digital and data, was to shake up the industry and transform this space so it’s consumer-first and future- orientated.

“We know brands want to establish a closer, more targeted connection with consumers in the out-of-home environment and similarly consumers aren’t as receptive when they don’t seek out the interaction, so our interactive digital portals create the perfect storm for these two opportunities to converge.”

In what is clearly an Australian success story going global, PRIM said that, following its success at Australian airport terminals, “the company has been approached by airports in the United States, Europe and South Africa to bring the technology to their shores.”

PRIM proudly boasts it is “also rapidly expanding its national presence to shopping centres by providing a customised application for parents’ rooms providing products tailored for the baby and toddler market".

And you’ll surely see the technology expanding all over the place, with the example given of PRIM tech offering “a novel approach to brand activations at major sporting events or music festivals, demonstrating the multitude of experiential executions also available to brands and advertisers".

As an example of where PRIM tech has ended up, we’re told that it “served up a marketing hit for Blackmores with a customised activation utilising artificial intelligence for its Well Bot campaign at the Australian Open in January this year".

“Eight interactive portals created a buzz with consumers who engaged in entertaining conversations about their health and well-being and received tailored vitamin samples as a reward.”

So, when did PRIM get primed into life?

We’re told that Davis founded PRIM in 2014 following “a successful career in sales and marketing. Her passion for travel lead her to discover a gap in the market for quality, accessible beauty and grooming essentials for people on the go.”

Davis said: “It was a bit of an ‘ah ha’ moment – the opportunity to bring a quality range of products into airport ‘powder rooms’ while at the same time opening up this market to leading brands who were seeking meaningful connections with their consumers just made so much sense to me.

Here are just some of the tech features and benefits on offer:

  • Allows customised digital interactions with “chatbots” using artificial intelligence to personalise consumer experience.
  • Combines customised app-style software with vending hardware.
  • Apps run on Android computers which can communicate with an interactive touchscreen, vending machine motherboard and cloud-based management system.
  • Cloud-based management system uses REACT software (Web UI) and RESTFELL software (Database API) which enables real-time reporting of sales and interactions.
  • Enables cashless transactions through Paywave, Android and Apple Pay, Paypal, reward cars and QR codes.
  • RFID integration and social media integration.
  • Established network of portals at airports and shopping centres reaches a monthly audience of 10 million consumers.
  • Touchscreen displays can be wall-mounted, stand-alone or fitted to vending machines.

More information here.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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