Hari Shotham is pioneering a unique new business model at his St Kilda store ‘Vitamin Warehouse.’
Hari Shotham thinks he's found the future of Australian retail shopping at his small St Kilda shop.
The future is – vending machines.
Hari’s shop has a stock of variety of products: vitamins, perfumes, mobile phone accessories, bandages, medicine, Coca-Cola and more.
This is delivered to customers from 13 vending machines.
Hari has no shop assistants, no managers. Open 24 hours a day.
He tells The Age that he does not even bother to come to his shop most days and just monitors the activity from home via the store's CCTV on his mobile phone.
Hari claims he has opened “Australia's first vending-machine-only shop.”
Hari adds that each machine is turning over $1000 a week and the target is now of 20 machines we to make $20,000.
"Surprisingly, the numbers have been amazing. We haven't even got a proper sign out," Hari told The Age.
He reveals that gus biggest sellers at the shop are perfume for young women.
Hari's store is currently called ‘Vitamin Warehouse' but he feels that once he has more products he might need a name-change.
He feels that because of cutting-down costs he is able to significantly undercut his competitors price on similar items.
Added to this are almost zero theft costs, adds Hari.
"The highest problem in pharmacies is everything has to be under lock and key," explains Hari. "Theft is a massive problem"
In this situation he has the advantage.
"In a vending machine you cannot steal," Hari says.
Hari has previously worked with Chemist Warehouse and has 40-years’ experience.
He has also worked in Hong Kong and there learnt the potential for vending-machine retail business.
He tried replicating the Hong Kong model in Australia.
The original plan, explains Hari, was to buy vending machines, fill them up and install them at local shopping centres.
But he says that centre management was unwilling to allow his vending machines.
He then decided to scout for his own shop and found one in St Kilda.
Now time will tell if Hari’s business strategy will work, but he is confident that this venture is the start of something huge in Australia.