Airport Business

DEC 2017 - JAN 2018

The airport professional's source for airport industry news, articles, events, and careers.

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36 airportbusiness December 2017/January 2018 By Benét Wilson Put a New Spin on Vending Airport vending options are a lot more than snacks as new companies bring in buyable technology for passengers. David Popler is the chief rev- enue officer and senior vice pres- ident of sales at San Francisco- based ZoomSystems. His compa- ny is credited with bringing one of the first non-food/beverage-based vending machines to an airport — Hartsfield-Jackson — in 2006, selling Apple iPods. "It came out of the idea that the end of the supply chain could be much more efficient and con- venient for both retailers and con- sumers," he explained. "If vending could bring convenient consump- tion of soda and candy, then why not offer self-service automated retail for much higher-end prod- ucts like consumer electronics and cosmetics?" ZoomSystems used the iPod to test this new idea, said Popler. "We thought the new iPod could be great, but Apple was not on board at first. So we bought some iPods and put them in machines at Hartsfield-Jackson and San Francisco International airports anyway just to see what would happen," he said. "They did great. Once they saw the results, Apple was very impressed and offered us a distribution agreement for auto - mated retail." A i r p o r t s a r e g r e a t f o r ZoomSystems' machines first because of the sheer volume of traffic, said Popler. "And we also realized that airports are a very special place for retail. The busi- est people in the world get through security for a flight and all of a sudden, they have an hour or so of relative down time," he observed. "They've had no time to shop for those high-end headphones they wanted. Then they are walking around a terminal, see those Bose they've really wanted, and take a few minutes to treat themselves." A mong the brands Zoom- Systems works with are Best Buy, Nespresso, Proactiv, The Honest Company and Benefit Cosmetics. "Success in automated retail is a combination of the product cat- egory, core economics and the brands' strategies. There are sev- eral reasons for pursuing networks like this," he said. "These brands have great products and a strong vision for how to utilize this chan- nel." ZoomSystems is currently in 65 U.S. airports, including 42 of the top 50. The company pro- vides all of the hardware, software and managed services required to run these networks turnkey, said Popler. "We have partners who we engage in every airport that provide the merchandis- ing and other services the machines need." A irpor t vending machines in the past have sold typical items — soda, water and snacks. But companies eager to find a low-cost, easier way to sell goods to passengers in airport terminals are using vending machines in new ways. VENDING MATTERS FuelRod has grown consistently the past two years and is now available in airports across North America. FuelRod FuelRod offers phone charging units for travelers, which can be exchanged for fully charged units will traveling. FuelRod

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