Be it self-driving cars or 3D printers, technology has changed the way humans live, for the better. Moreover, while technology has improved and evolved products, it has also integrated itself in our day to day lives and changed the way we use age-old products. Now, you can get food, movie tickets, even a ride to your office just at the touch of your fingers.
One such product that has the capability to utilize technology and become a truly revolutionary product is vending machines. Currently, the vending industry is not living up to its potential as vending business owners do not have access to or are unaware of affordable yet smart technology that can improve their business margins. Add to that, due to the healthy living revolution, the unhealthy snacks sold by these machines were not helping with the already slow-paced return on investment for these machines.
Today, the total profit generated by the vending machine industry in the US alone, every year is over $64 million. And, with the introduction of state-of-the-art technology that will be used across all machines, the profits are bound to skyrocket!
It is with that hope that we at Vendekin have introduced game-changing vending solutions in the form of mobile apps and software to make the consumer & vending machine owner experience incomparably convenient and improve operational efficiency thereby hitting two birds with one stone!
We understand that very few vending machine owners can afford to replace their existing vending machine with a new and upgraded one, and hence, we provide the opportunity to retrofit or revamp your existing vending machine with our technology to change a traditional machine into a ‘SMART vending machine’!
Known as ‘smart vending machines’, these revamped machines have not only improved consumer interaction, but also have the capability to inform business owners about the machine health and other important parameters that can make the vending business successful.
Like any smart device, be it a mobile or a washing machine, there are certain features the machine must have. So, what are these features for smart vending machines?
We have compiled 6 vital features that we believe any vending machine must have to qualify as ‘smart’, which are divided into the three main objectives of a vending machine; stocking, consumer experience & inventory management!
Smart Vending Machine: Stocking Capabilities
While storing packaged food and beverages is expected out of a vending machine, things start to get tricky when it comes to storing & dispensing fresh products. Nowadays, vending machines are moving towards stocking fresh and healthy snack options, sometimes even gluten-free products! These products are sure to bring in more consumers, however, they also require more attention to the maintenance of the machine, especially in terms of temperature. Too hot or even too cold temperatures can spoil the already short life span of the goods.
To tackle this issue, the owner of a smart vending machine has the capability of adjusting the temperature, based on the goods they are selling.
According to a guide for good practices for vending machines with Regulation 852/2004, which is recognized by the Food Standards Agency, the control of temperature is essential in restricting the growth of bacteria and thus minimizing the risk of food poisoning and deterioration and spoilage of food. For high-risk foods keeping them chilled or hot is the single most important control in ensuring their safety. Bacteria need warmth to live and multiply. Generally, at temperatures of 8°C or less, their growth is inhibited and at 63°C or over most are killed.
For very long-time, vending machines have been viewed as dispensers of unhealthy and outdated products. However, vending machines owners can now stock fresh products like sandwiches, buns, etc. while managing an efficient supply chain with the Vendekin software solution- thus ensuring consumers are always provided with fresh produce. Since margins are higher for fresh produce, vending machine owners will be able to grow faster!
Another benefit of investing in smart vending solutions is the high-level of security. One would assume that stealing from a vending machine is generally conducted through blunt force. However, modern vending machines are much sturdier and heavier, making it considerably difficult for thieves to use physical force to break open the machines. Moreover, by using software like ours at Vendekin, smart vending machines are connected directly through an app, which owners can access from anywhere. Hence, as soon as an attempt to theft is made, you will get notified, ensuring you an attempt to stop the crime before it occurs!
Smart Vending Machine: Consumer Experience
While features like touch screen, hand gesture, and other technology making the rounds, it is important to understand that these features are extremely expensive to not only install, but also maintain. Add to that, if the technology dies out, a consumer will be unable to use the machine, resulting in a loss of a potential purchase. Instead, with Vendekin, we provide users with an app, which they can easily access through their personal smartphones, resulting in an easy, interactive & seamless experience.
An additional benefit of the Vendekin consumer app is it allows the consumers to select multiple products in one go as opposed to purchasing products one by one in traditional vending machines. Thus, not only do consumers get the ability to purchase more in one go but also vending machine owners are empowered to increase the sales ticket size of each vending transaction!
We are currently in the day and age of digital payment. One of the biggest drawbacks of traditional vending machines is the fact that they require hard currencies to be paid to barter the goods. Most people prefer not to carry money any longer.
You have seen it happen to you-you see a vending machine and feel like buying a packet of snack but you suddenly remember you are out of change! If only you could use your smartphone to purchase the snack!
According to the World Payments Report of 2018, non-cash transactions are estimated to accelerate at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.7% globally with emerging markets growing at 21.6% from 2016-21. A smart vending machine easily solves this issue, as it provides multiple online payment methods that are easy to use and super convenient for the user. Another important payment channel is card readers. While VMOs have attempted to access this mode of payment, the high costs and big risks have always posed as a problem. However, with Vendekin, you get cashless solution for your consumers at an affordable price!
Smart Vending Machine: Efficient Inventory Management
A daily challenge for vending machines owners and operators is the time and products that are wasted when it comes to stocking machines. Right from analyzing which products to pack to which machine is missing what product, all decisions related to vending machines need to be analyzed, without having access to accurate data. This either results in a shortage of products at some vending machines, while the overload and ultimate waste of products at another vending machine. This is another reason for pilferage as products cannot be traced after they leave the warehouse.
Moreover, if you have business with machines in many different locations, it can be difficult to keep tabs on each machine’s exact inventory status. Going to each vending machine to physically verify its status is not only impractical but also extremely expensive! To counter this challenge, smart vending machines use mobile vending solutions like Vendekin, which provide machine owners with an analytics portal and equip their field staff with a mobile app- this combination helps business owners monitor the goods from the warehouse to consumption. Basically, giving you an update about the product’s lifecycle, from inception to completion!
Smart vending machines can utilize past sales data to predict future consumption patterns. Vending business owners can further “cash in” on this information by creating promotions and dynamically changing prices remotely. With Vendekin Promotions Module, vending machine operators can do exactly this!
Another important aspect of retail is Loyalty Programs. However, the vending industry has been unable to invest in such programs mainly due to:
The high investments involved in other activities such as maintenance, servicing, capex involved in setting up the vending business itself
Consumers do not have one single platform that can entice them to become members of a program and reap its benefits
With Vendekin, vending business owners save enough by improving the operational efficiency that they can invest in a loyalty program. Furthermore, the Vendekin platform consists of the consumer app which can be the single platform that brings consumers together for the entire vending eco-system.
There is no doubt that a smart vending machine can take your business to the next level! Contact Vendekin today to configure your vending machine to take it from ordinary to SMART!