Sustainability Environment

Unilever launches first in-store vending model at Mumbai mall

Unilever’s ‘Smart Fill’ vending machine   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Earlier this month, Mumbai’s Reliance Smart Acme Mall became home to the pilot project of Unilever’s in-store vending model, ‘Smart Fill’. Thanks to this new initiative set up in partnership with Reliance Retail, customers can get a refill of homecare products — for brands such as Surf Excel, Vim and Comfort — rather than purchase a new packet. A recent report in The Hindu Business Line explains how to access products from the Smart Fill machine: ‘Consumers can either use their old empty bottles or purchase a Smart Fill bottle from the store at a nominal price. As an incentive, consumers are being offered ₹30 off on the MRP or effective price at the store if they get their own bottle and ₹15 off to those who purchase the Smart Fill bottle’. Post the pilot’s success, the consumer goods major hopes to scale it to cities across the country.

This India-specific initiative comes a year after Unilever announced its largest in-store refill trial in Europe (at Asda’s sustainability store in Leeds) in 2020. Now, the brand is expanding trials of their refillable packaging — for beauty and homecare brands Persil, Simple, Radox and Alberto Balsam — across the UK. As per company reports, this expansion comes on the heels of their rather successful trial given how an increasing consumer base is looking at plastic packaging alternatives. The new extention includes their first-ever ‘return on the go’ pilot wherein ‘shoppers looking for a quicker grab-and-go purchase can pick up a pre-filled stainless steel bottle from the shelf and return it in-store once used, where they are collected to be cleaned and refilled’. These bottles are slated to be available in selected Asda and Co-op stores by the end of the year.

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 10:59:28 PM |

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