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The new Vigix kiosk sells and dispenses jewellery
The new Vigix kiosk sells and dispenses jewellery

Jewellery vending machines, what next?

Traditionally the domain of the drinks and snack food market, vending machines have expanded to dispense things like DVD movies and electronic goods. But is the world really ready to buy jewellery from a vending kiosk?
A new jewellery vending machine debuted at the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting last weekend, sparking discussion about the future of point of sale.

The vending machine's launch probably gained wider media attention because of its link with Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and the man widely considered the greatest investor of the 20th century.

The business behind the vending machine, Richline, is a gold jewellery manufacturer and Berkshire Hathaway company. It created the ‘Vigix kiosk’, an interactive vending machine that can sell and dispense jewellery instantly.

The kiosk proved a popular attraction at Berkshire Hathaway’s renowned investor’s weekend, and claimed strong sales for its pendants, money clips and commemorative gold and silver coins. Intended to hold impulse-buy stock ranging from $50-$150 in price, the dispenser features a video screen that can display product information and a credit card swipe for customers to buy pieces on the spot.

Richline’s chief marketing officer Mark Hanna said that the Vigix kiosk responded to a customer demand for quick self-service.

“The challenge was reinventing point of sale for the consumer in a digital area,” Hanna said. “As we toured stores, we got the distinct feeling that there was very little service in some stores. And in the stores where there was service, it wasn’t really oriented toward the price-point goods.
“Normally, retailers keep our jewellery products in locked cases, which requires a shopper to find a store clerk to learn about the product or to purchase it,” he added. “With the Vigix kiosk, we can provide pictures, video and text describing the product and allow the consumer to purchase the product herself quickly and easily. We know consumers love self-service, and Vigix is the best solution we’ve seen.”

The Vigix kiosk can hold up to 72 different pieces, plus extra stock for every item. It is also re-stockable as needed and offers a digital security seal. While convenient and compact, the kiosk isn’t yet intended to operate in typical vending machine spaces.

“I think in the future it could have applications in airports and professional office buildings,” Hanna said. “But we don’t sell to the consumer and I think it needs the credibility of a good jewellery retailer with it.”

Indian company Gitanjali made headlines late last year when it launched gold and diamond vending machines, with a view to place them in premium malls, airports and temples.

At the time, Gitanjali CEO Sanjeev Agarwal said that the machine would “revolutionise the processes by which precious metals and jewellery are bought.”

He also noted that it was particularly significant in India, where gold and jewellery is regularly bought as “tokens to observe traditions on auspicious days.” 

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What do you think? Can jewellery vending machines be successful in Australian jewellery retail stores? Are you a business owner, would you consider installing a dispensing kiosk in your shop if it was available?

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