Even after a century of having set foot in the retail market, the vending machine market has displayed uninspired growth. Since they are primarily used to dispense packaged goods, vending machines have become synonymous with junk food. Furthermore, consumers often do not find what they are looking for in vending machines as the product mix is not updated to individual consumer preferences.
In the present atmosphere of a 24*7 economy, the lack of interest in vending machines can act as a stumbling block for your business. It is, therefore, important to evaluate the underlying problems that put consumers off this retail experience.
Here are the top five hurdles that consumers face while using vending machines which can be easily overcome to make vending as the chosen point of retail!
Fail to Inspire Sense of Usability
A lot of times consumers are wary of making purchases at vending machines because they don’t look usable and are notoriously known to malfunction. Besides, there is no concrete consumer support system to help buyers if the product is not dispensed even after inserting the money. One such bad experience is enough to put them off vending machines for good as there is no dearth of alternative shopping avenues.
Lack of Reliability
One prime reason for consumer experience with vending machines being far from satisfactory is that these setups have failed to keep up with the changing times. Most vending machines still follow a cash-based model and accept coins or notes of specific denominations. As per US-based data by Feild Agent, 51 per cent respondents in a survey said they did not use vending machines because they never have enough cash or coins on them to make a purchase. Even the ones that do have an option for card payments are prone to malfunctioning. In the same survey, 23 per cent attributed reluctance to use these machines to frequent malfunctions and consequent lack of support. The absence of a go-to support system makes consumers nervous about using these machines.
Concerns over Product Quality
Even a fully stocked vending machine offers limited choices than a well-stocked store, and most vending machines are not restocked until they have virtually run out of goods. Dampening the consumer experience further is the nature of the vending machine; there is no way for a consumer to touch, or feel a product before making a purchase. A study titled, Consumer support for healthy food and drink vending machines in public places, found that 80 per cent of users are willing to pay more for items available at these machines if there is a guarantee of improved nutritional quality of products. The concerns over quality are further augmented if the products stocked in a vending machine do not have an established brand value. The same study pointed out that the likelihood of a purchase goes up by 20 per cent if the machines are stocked with branded labels. By enabling consumers to use touch-free vending technology, operators can empower them to check nutritional facts in a digital manner!
Time-consuming Buying Experience
Vending machines normally dispense one product at a time. If a consumer wants more than one product, they have to repeat the whole process all over again, holding up other buyers in the process. This extensively time-consuming shopping experience can lead to you having to wait for a long time for your turn to make a purchase; something which modern-day consumers do not care for.
Confusing for New Buyers
Given the wide array of choices to select from and process payments, new users may find these machines hard to use. With so many different shopping avenues at their disposal, it just makes more sense for them to move on to a hassle-free shopping experience than invest time and effort in learning the ropes.
Overcoming the Barriers
Posturing vending machines as a lucrative shopping option will require an extensive overhaul of services. This can be brought about by the introduction of vending apps that facilitate a touch-free buying experience. A vending machine app can allow access to a host of services with a single swipe on your smartphone. Supplementing touch-free vending with multiple product dispensations and reliable consumer support can help make these setups more appealing to buyers. These issues can be addressed collectively by collaborating with a platform that specializes in integrated vending solutions for different stakeholders. The introduction of a platform that encourages transactions through mobile-based payments, can enable vending machine owners to provide customer loyalty programs thus directly increasing sales and buyer retention.
A partner like Vendekin can help businesses achieve their goals faster and more efficiently by providing data to chart out a concrete course of action, complete with tangible deliverables.