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Brief Published: 28 Sep 2020

Beauty Vending Machines Offer Light-Touch Retail


Mitigating consumers’ Covid-related anxiety around hygiene by offering an automated retail experience, British skincare brand Haeckels and H&M’s & Other Stories sub-brand have both launched smart vending machines in partnership with London-based start-up Social Vend. In addition, Haeckels is redesigning its flagship for the Covid era.

The vending machines are located in Haeckels’ original store in its hometown of Margate (a seaside town in Kent, southern England), and a concession from & Other Stories in the Haussmann branch of Parisian department store chain Galeries Lafayette.

From a hardware perspective, both brands’ vending machines are the same, with product displays encased in four spotlit boxes which run down the machine’s right-hand side. The boxes are glass on two sides, allowing product to be viewed from multiple angles.

Offering a two-touchpoint shopping experience, customers use a large touchscreen to select their desired products, before paying on a contactless card machine and opening the door to collect their items. Both touchpoints – the touchscreen and door handle – are wiped down by an employee between customers.

Haeckels’ vending machine is a stop-gap solution while it redesigns its flagship. The machine sits at the centre of the store, closely surrounded by futuristic mirrored walls. Behind those walls, the brand is reconfiguring the rest of its square footage to create a Covid-era flagship.

& Other Stories’ smart vending machine is a pilot scheme, with H&M considering a roll-out across its brands in 2021. Selling four fragrances and a cosmetics range, it sits within the branch’s main floorspace.

For more beauty brand spaces, see Winning Beauty Destinations.

For previous reporting on retail’s post-Covid store technology, see Zero-Touch Store Tech: 7 Confidence-Building Innovations and  Resetting Physical Retail: The Post-Covid Brand Space.