Software design & development | User Training | Support services
Product vending and Dispensing
BLB Consultants chose us to implement an innovative idea to increase the sales of their client’s products. In its basic form, it is an automated, over the counter product vending and dispensing system with a highly intuitive user interface built on an Android tablet.
Our scope of work involved the design, development, implementation, training, and support for this system. At the back end, the system has a web portal running on the cloud, using which office staff can monitor sales and stocks and run analytics.
Product and product details are not displayed due to the confidentiality agreement with our client.
The unique feature of this system is its ability to provide appropriate product suggestions and currently running promotions to shoppers, just in time when they are about to choose a competition product.
Once the sale is complete, the system sends a wireless message to the electronic lock of the right cabinet where the product is stored, so that the retailer can open the cabinet and dispense it.
One major challenge was the difficulty in establishing the right message format for the electronic locks and to make sure the lock of the right cabinet is opened once the sale is declared as complete on the tablet. This was overcome by painstakingly working with the lock suppliers to understand the message formats. Another challenge was to conduct remote training as the users were in Sydney. We created training videos and animations using which users could quickly learn to use the system. A third challenge was to make the user interface as intuitive as possible. This was because the number of products was quite large and therefore quickly narrowing down and selecting the product of choice was becoming a problem. We came up with a clever way of grouping the products and displaying them on the tablet’s screen to overcome this problem. This made it possible to reach the product of choice with just 2 clicks or taps on the screen.
The key risk that we identified was incorrect use of the system. Though the system was designed to prevent user errors as much as possible, it still depended upon the non-tech savvy retail users to take due care and exercise adequate diligence to ensure data entered is correct. The risk was mitigated by producing highly user-friendly training videos and documentation.