The brief was to identify, design and test new, commercially viable applications for LCD technology. Success was critical for Samsung’s LCD division in its pursuit of sustainable and margin accretive growth in what had become a technically complex yet commercially commoditized space.
We identified eight new markets that met pre-defined success criteria, and then developed a portfolio of product solutions across these markets. Two of the eight ideas are successfully in-market today. uVending solves a global supply chain problem for vending machines. It was also estimated that 30% of all vending machines were out-of-stock of at least one product at any given time.
To solve these issues, we developed uVending: the world’s first connected vending system. Samsung’s next-generation uVending machines are enabled with large-format LCD touchscreens and wireless data connectivity to transform what were previously disconnected, passive transaction points into an active real-time distribution and marketing platform.
The uVending system delivers interactive content to a global network of uVending machines, allowing a marketer to communicate a universal marketing message instantly, as well as customize content to specific regions, locations and even times of day. Automatic inventory management enabled uVending machines to both communicate low stock levels with the supply chain, and also adjust marketing communications to reflect the change in inventory.
Samsung launched uVending initially as a joint venture with Coca-Cola at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and uVending went on to win Coca-Cola a Gold Lion at the 2009 Cannes International Advertising Festival. A Financial Times study in 2009 concluded that uVending could generate a return on investment ten times larger than conventional vending machine, in terms of incremental sales volume and increased media value. Samsung has continued to expand the uVending business globally to include clients such as Unilever and Kraft.