The wine-vending kiosks in Pennsylvania may have failed miserably, but that doesn't mean the glass is half-empty for wine kiosks in general. JG1 Ltd., a designer of kiosk technology, has put its emphasis not on selling wine via kiosks but on helping shoppers select their spirits.
The company, launched in 2008, has developed wine kiosks for three of the big four supermarkets in the U.K., said Dave Jenkins of JG1.
The kiosk uses a custom interface to help the customer find a suitable product via search functionality, and assists the retailer by diversifying and increasing the sales volume in store, up to 40 times the normal output in some cases, Jenkins said. The company has 750 units already deployed in Europe; several are being tested in the United States, and JG1 is in the process of setting up a New York office to handle the numerous U.S. orders it expects.
"We have realized huge successes on the Wine Selector projects from both a customer perception and return on investment point of view. We have also established a base for the product in China, India and South Africa," Jenkins said.
The kiosks allow shoppers to search for wines by price, country of origin, type/taste, grape type, award winning, special offers and the best options to be paired with certain foods. It also has a featured Wine of the Week/Month and advice from award-winning Masters of Wine, of whom there are only 200 in the world, Jenkins said.
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JG1 has also developed similar kiosk software — the Drink Selector, which provides search capabilities for beer, cocktails, wine and spirits, and the Cocktail Selector, which gives info on cocktails only.
Although Jenkins could not go into cost details, retailers buy the machines directly from JG1 in one of three hardware formats:
- Full size kiosk with printer and scanner
- Shelf kiosk with printer
- Tablet-based system
Since the launch of JG1's kiosk software/hardware manufacturing venture in 2009, the company has placed more than 2,000 kiosks into the U.K., U.S., Canada, Europe and the United Arab Emirates, with a forecast to supply another 3,500 by the end of 2012, making JG1 the largest kiosk exporter to Europe and the U.A.E. in the U.K., Jenkins said.
"JG1 has an extremely strong financial backing from a well-established investment team, including a member of the U.K. Television program 'Dragons Den,'" he said. "This investment team does not invest directly in the company, which is financially sound, but invests in individual projects developed in-house by a dedicated 'evolution-products' team whose aim is to create markets for the touchscreen kiosk that don't currently exist or that can be recreated in a way that sustainably differentiates our product in a market leading way."
JG1 is also planning two other kiosk launches this year, the Recipe Selector, aimed at large supermarkets, and the Card Creator, which produces on-demand personalized greeting cards.
Read more about custom kiosks.
Cherryh Butler has been a reporter for nearly 10 years, writing on a variety of topics ranging from the restaurant industry to business and health and fitness news. Before joining FastCasual.com as editor, she oversaw KioskMarketplace.com and PizzaMarketplace.com and contributed to RetailCustomerExperience.com. She's also written for several daily newspapers, magazines and websites, including The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine.