In response, I looked into novel approaches of inventory control. One surprise finding was the increased use and deployment of retail vending machines--what has become known as "V-Commerce."
Inventory Benefits of Vending Machines
In, "The New Touch Face of Vending Machines" The New York Times begins to break down the economic advantages of vending machines:
1) Because no employees are used, retail stores can reap larger profits from items in vending machines than from selling those items in brick and mortar stores.
2) Machines can use responsive ROQ replenish models to self order (over the internet) replacement goods when stock gets low.
3) Vending machines risk less inventory waste, not only because the overall inventory quantities are less, but because machines can be moved, removed or added at locations depending on customer demand.
4) Now with the use of touch screens, vending machines collect data on what goods are purchased, the frequency the machine is used, and the interface progression of potential customers at the machine terminal .
But the popularity is growing. Some brick and mortar retailers are beginning to incorporate vending machines into their delivery lines . As George Van Horn, Senior Market Analyst with IBISWorld explains, "They have a brick-and-mortar, they have mail order, they have a website, so the vending machine itself is just one more extension of the brand ."
In Minnesota, home to the Mall of America, vending machines offer items such as dippers, toiletries, and groceries . The U.S. is also preparing to welcome Italy's increasingly popular "Let's Pizza" vending machines, which dispense fresh baked pizza (made from scratch) to customers in just a few minutes. Using a real time, automatic, online inventory ordering system, Let's Pizza's machines are able to carry up to 200 "fresh" ingredients, including meat and vegetable toppings .
Question: Future of V-Commerce?
 Freeland, James R and Robert D. Landel. Managing Inventories: What Is The Appropriate Order Quantity?" University of Virginia. Darden Business Publishing (UVA-OM-1006), 2003.
 Glatzel, Christoph, Stefan Helmcke, and Joshua Wine. "Building a flexible supply chain for uncertain times." The McKinsey Quarterly, March 2009.
 Rosenbloom, Steven. "The New Touch Face of Vending Machines." The New York Times, 25 May, 2010.
 Crosby, Jackie. "Vending Machines Go Beyond Soda and Chips." The L.A. Times, 17 January, 2011.
 Tagliabue, John. "In Italy, A Vending Machine Even Makes the Pizza." The New York Times, 13 March, 2009.