Thursday, August 14, 2008
Electronics retailer Best Buy has installed vending machines at 8 major US airports. It's a pilot program for the company's new Best Buy Express kiosks, which are large vending machines that carry cell phone and computer accessories, digital cameras, flash drives, MP3 players, headphones, gaming devices, travel adapters, and other items that are likely to appeal to customers on the go. Prices are similar to those in Best Buy stores.
Best Buy is targeting travellers in search of last-minute gifts, as well as those who need a replacement for a gadget or accessory they forgot to pack or lost along the way. The kiosks can currently be found at airports in Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Dallas (DFW), Houston (IAH), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), Minneapolis (MSP) and San Francisco (SFO). Four more will follow over the next few weeks.
It's an interesting move by Best Buy. The convenience factor is an obvious draw for travellers in a hurry, especially at airports with limited shopping options. But the branding on a vending machine by a well-known retailer is also a clear visual signal, instantly recognizable by consumers, which is a real advantage at busy and cluttered airports. One for other retailers to experiment with, too? How about a vending machine by Target, carrying their top 20 small items? Or one by Whole Foods, offering organic snacks?