The world of vending is expanding beyond the typical machines found in your office break room. Self-checkout (also known as micro markets) is new on the scene and a great way for employers to provide vending solutions in a non-traditional format. Most often found at larger workplace locations, self-checkout markets are growing rapidly with no plans to stop.
The concept of a self-checkout market resembles a small convenience store without a cashier and allows patrons to select snacks, meals and drinks from a variety of racks and coolers. The patrons would then bring purchases to a self-checkout touch screen kiosk. This allows the consumer the convenience to pick up items and check nutrition labels before purchasing them.
These markets also allow for more customization when it comes to products and allow for promotional integration with employer health and wellness programs. In vending, fresh food selections are limited, but fresh is what sells in self-checkout markets. More than 25 percent of micro market sales are from fresh food, which allows for more healthy products to be added. Self-checkout customers were asked what they like most about the new market and a majority, 79.8 percent, like the variety.
It’s like having a convenience store in your own facility; each layout is customizable to the needs of your facility and food preferences. If your company is interested in expanding your vending options, let us know by giving us a call at (888)-795-8363.
It is so easy to take things for granted, but for those with a disability, simple daily activities can be a challenge. University of Waikato law student, Jane Sankey-O’Dwyer, decided to create vending machines that were easy for people with disabilities to use. As a blind student, Jane struggled to get a drink out of a vending machine by herself.
She wanted to make sure that no one else had to struggle with simple activities such as getting a drink or snack from the vending machine just because they may have a disability. Jane received a $5,000 scholarship for the university’s Summer10 week Start-Up Program. Jane went blind at age 25 and realized how difficult daily activities become so she wanted to make a difference for others.
She is looking into software similar to Siri on the iphone since voice-activated vending machines would give blind people more access to vending machine.We love that Jane’s working toward making sure vending machines are accessible for more people!
We have seen many stories of vending machines offering unique products around the world, but two interesting offerings we’ve seen lately are: short stories and insta-art!
A city in France got the world’s first short story vending machine. The machine has three numbered buttons: 1, 3, and 5 that refer to how many minutes the story will take to read. After choosing the length of the story, the machine will print a long ticket (the short story). Back in January, there were eight short story distributors in Grenoble in the French Alps. People can rent the short story vending machine for 500 euro. The short story machines offered 600 original stories and in the first moth, about 10,000 stories were printed. In the age of technology, the short stories provide a break from reading from screens. Many popular short stories are likely to be sold in vending machines. Hospitals, train stations, airports, amusement parks, museums, and cinemas have said they would be interested in having short story vending machines.
An Art-O-Mat, a retired and re-styled cigarette vending machine, is dispensing small pieces of art including jewelry, sculptures, paintings, and collages from over 400 artists from around the world. This machine is in the Downriver Council for the Arts (DCA) which is an old Masonic Temple in Wyandotte. There are similar vending machines in Las Vegas, Santa Fe, and Australia that allow artists to share their work with a wider audience!
How cool is it that you can get short stories and original art from vending machines? Do you think these types of vending machines will become more popular?
People often think of vending machines to grab a quick snack or drink, but there are vending machines around the world that offer very unique items:
Live crabs – If you’re in China, you can grab a live crab from a vending machine. How crazy is in to get a live creature from a vending machine?
Cooked pizza – Pizza machines in Europe and America are becoming more popular! In just 3 minutes, you can get a 9 inch fresh pizza from a pizza vending machine! How cool is that? A full meal on the go!
Cupcakes – You can enjoy a sweet treat from a vending machine in New York, LA, Chicago, Dallas, or Atlanta. Sprinkles Cupcakes started this trend and it’s likely to lead to more baked goods in vending machines!
French Fries – The Netherlands has a vending machine that dispenses fresh, hot french fries. Hotels offer fries to guests so they can grab a snack anytime of the day or night
Shoes – You never know when you might need a new pair of shoes! The Onitsuka Tiger machine in Carnaby Street, London is offering shoes so you no longer have to worry if you break a sole!
Legos – Germany train stations are offering Legos in a vending machines. This is a fun way to get toys on the go!
Flowers – An automated kiosk in Raleigh, NC offers fresh-cut arrangements. This is the perfect way to grab some last minute flowers for a loved one. The flowers even come with a vase and card!
Prescription Medications – MedBox has figured out how to dispense medication from a vending machine using security measures such as fingerprint samples. These machines are primarily used by pharmacies, assisted living facilities, doctors, and clinics to help manage sensitive drugs.
These are just a few of the many unique items offered in vending machines around the world. In the future, more items including alcohol are likely to be sold in vending machines. What’s the most unique item you’ve seen in a vending machine and what items would you want to purchase from a vending machine in the future?
How do you think people pay for items at the vending machine in the future? The vending industry has continuously changed over the years including the ways you can pay for items at the vending machines. While cash has been the most common payment method at a machine over history, there are a variety of other payment methods at vending machines:
Google Wallet – This payment method allows you to send and receive money instantly to anyone in the U.S. using an email address or phone number. It’s free and easy to use because all you need is the Google Wallet app and you can send money from your debit card, bank account, or Wallet Balance. With Google Wallet, you can “Tap and Pay” at some vending machines and the machine with charge the amount to your Google Wallet account.
Apple Pay – Apple Pay is a simple and safe way to pay using your mobile device Through Apple Pay, you can use your cards with just a touch to purchase an item from the vending machine.
Credit card readers – Many vending machines allow you to pay with your credit card and debit card. This is handy for those days when you realize you don’t have any cash on you.
Pay Range – This simple mobile payment system allows you to “swipe” on your mobile device for an item when you are within arm’s length from the machine. The Pay Range App does not send any of your personal information to the vending machine so it is considered a very secure payment option.
Yoke – Yoke is a payment system that takes the mobile wallet one step further by offering complete control with real time inventory tracking, data collection, and mobile self-checkout.
These are just a few of the many current payment options at vending machines, but there are many others. As we go into the near future, mobile payments will continue to become more popular. The world is continually becoming more digital and vending machines will stay up to date with this trend.
Let us know how you think you’ll be purchasing items at the vending machine in the future!
Self-service micro markets are a fresh idea for a new break-time experience by combining fresh, nutritious meals and snacks with ease of use and technological innovation. Micro markets are more limited and focused on a select group of consumers, offering a full range of healthier products. These markets have a wide variety of tasty and healthy options with the convenience of having a fresh marketplace within your company campus. With soups, salads, fruits, vegetables, frozen foods, cold drinks, and other snack foods, there is enough diversity to please everyone.
Micro markets are self-checkout convenience installations that offer 24/7 retail-style merchandising with state-of-the-art unattended self-checkout kiosk technology. With the choice of a variety of fresh foods, snacks, and beverages, you can have open product access and a variety of healthy and fresh food selections. Not only do employees have access to hundreds of healthy products, but they can also take time to evaluate product labels and nutritional information before making a purchase. Micro markets are an innovating and exciting way to make break-time a little more fun and much healthier, which increase employee morale and productivity.
Employees who stay on campus can get back to work quicker and are more likely to be satisfied with the healthy options. Associates can accumulate points with the purchase of healthy items to encourage healthier choices. Micro markets have a simple and secure checkout process: employees checkout using their own credit/debit cards, key tag, or smartphones. Each company has unique needs so each company’s micro market is designed slightly different.
Some key benefits of having a micro market in your company include:
Convenience: Company Kitchen is open 24/7
Cashless kiosk: Use a market card, credit or debit card to pay
Fresh-made foods and a great selection
Nutritional tracking allows employees to create a personal, online profiles to track nutritional data
If you are looking for a convenient way to brand your company to its many visitors, consider adding a vending machine. With vending management, you can add a machine that will help you with your branding efforts, all without the stress and hassle of managing the machines yourself. With a branding vending solution, you will create interest and engagement with your customers while meeting a specific need they have.
With the right vending management company, you can create a custom graphics package that puts your company’s logo or slogan directly on the machine. With this, you will not only be meeting a need, but also putting your brand in front of your customers.
With the right vending management, you can even customize the look of the products inside your vending machine. Then, maintaining, stocking and servicing those machines will also be handled by the vending machine management professionals. Simply sit back and enjoy the benefits of a fully managed vending service, including money in your pocket and increased branding for your company.
When you contact a vending management company, discuss the options for placement of your vending machine. Keep it in a central location so customers have access to it and are visually reminded of your brand. Stock it with items they will need while they are at your facility, and watch while customer satisfaction and brand recognition increases.
When your items do not vend properly, it can not only cost you repeat business. It canresult in costly repairs if customers decide to take matters into their own hands to try to get an item that misvends.
In recent news, a man damaged a vending machine by dropping it from a forklift when it failed to dispense the candy bar he’d purchased. In many other cases, customers have shaken machines, tipped them or made other unsafe attempts to get stuck snacks. To maintain a healthy relationship with your customers, craft a good vending management program that includes the following:
Regularly clean machines in your vending network to remove sticky residue that can cause items to get stuck.
Only place properly sized items in your vending machines. Trying to fit an oversized snack, for instance, can cause bags to get caught up and not vend properly.
Test your machines regularly to make sure snacks are vending correctly. This should be checked every time you visit to restock.
Good maintenance helps you preserve your vending services contracts. This sort of conscientiousness is what distinguishes successful vending machine companies.
Vending machines are an ideal way to provide a quick snack or small meal to employees, students and others, and modern vending solutions offer more options than ever so you can satisfy lots of tastes. But they still don’t offer as many solutions as a café service. Because they have so many people – with so many different food preferences – offices and schools are especially good sites for a combination of vending machines and café services.
Think about it: Both employees and students spend long hours on site; having a variety of meal options, including more comprehensive café options, is a great way to increase customer loyalty as well as your vending profits.
National Vending works with local operators across the country to provide café services for businesses, schools and other organizations of all sizes. That kind of flexibility means we can help you make sure café areas are always stocked with the fresh, delicious options your customers like the most.
When it’s time to review your vending machine management program, consider adding café services to increase revenues and improve loyalty. No matter what combination of services you’re interested in, we can help you tailor a program to meet your needs and those of your customers.
Snack bars are also growing in popularity as quick snacks and complete meals. Vending machine companies benefit from understanding these trends as they stock machines and plan growth.
Demand for Versatile and Convenient Options
Employees appreciate the versatility and convenience bars provide. In addition to fitting easily into a purse, briefcase or desk drawer, bars can be eaten quickly between meetings or projects.
Desire for Healthy Snack and Meal Foods
Healthy snacks and meals fuel productivity and help consumers meet personal health goals. Many snack bars contain healthy ingredients like nuts and fruit, and up to 18 percent of vending services snack bars include high fiber claims. These healthy ingredients propel snack bar sales and meet consumers’ needs.
Increase in Employee Productivity
The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 2013 employee productivity rose 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter because of increased worker output and hours worked. Snack bars play a role in this productivity as up to 40 percent of workers eat lunch at their desk and many others use bars to manage hunger and forgo breaks during long work days.
Snack bar sales grow each year by as much as 15 percent. A vending network benefits from understanding and taking advantage of this workplace trend when deciding which items to stock.