It’s called automated retailing. While retail merchants MaxWellness and Kroger are still in the pilot phase, more or less, this should become a fast brand extension that can reach consumers in remote locations — the bus stop/train depot, the hospital, the airport, the school, the gym or inside another noncompetitive retailer’s box.
The advantages are just too good for these mini-boxes not to take hold. To begin with, there’s brand extension. Only the Internet can be as effective in attributing a national presence to a regional operator.
Then there’s overhead. Product development costs may run a little more expensive, as a product may need to be repackaged to work within the automated retailing box, but that’s quickly offset by the lack of labor costs — replenishment can be contracted out to a third party — to support a round-the-clock service.