The Sock Spot

The Sock Spot is now selling its novelty socks via a high-tech, touchscreen and cashless vending machine at the Westfield San Francisco Centre.

“While at first glance this may seem like just a vending machine, the Sock Spot automated retail unit has and will continue to distance itself from the spiral candy dispensers of yesterday,” the company said in a statement today. The vending machine is located by the Powell/Market Street Bart entrance at the shopping mall, and “features a selection of over 40 pairs of novelty socks, specialized to the shoppers of the San Francisco area.”

More units are planned, and the company said it partnered with Digital Media Vending International to roll out this initial unit. The Sock Spot is an e-commerce site that offers novelty socks such as ones featuring portraits of former President Obama and Albert Einstein as well as characters from the “Lion King.”

For chief executive officer Ben Williams, launching into physical retailing with a vending machine represents an “evolution that allows a small online start-up to expand the reach of our brand, deliver a unique, online-esque experience to brick-and-mortar, and use our wealth of digital knowledge to specialize the assortment.”

Williams said the unit, which takes mobile payments and credit cards, has an “add-to-cart feature so you can shop and purchase more than one pair at a time. As we proceed, the machine is going to keep evolving [by] adapting both its assortment and its interface to fit the people around it and offer a truly unique and interactive experience.”

DMVI, based in Santa Rosa, Calif., offers interactive kiosks, electronic lockers and custom vending machines as well as digital signage. The company’s custom vending machine clients include Estee Lauder, FujiFilm and PG Tips tea, among others.

The Sock Spot described the vending machine as a “new retail channel” and “an expansion under the same brand,” and Williams said as these machines “get going, we hope to bridge the gap between them and our online store into a single seamless experience. We are excited to see what the future holds for both the machines and our website as we do this.”

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