When I first saw video screens imbedded in vending machines, I had mixed reactions.
My first impression was that the video screen, capable of playing a streaming video, was another new technology that the industry was not ready to utilize.
I still believe this. However, as I learn more about video screens, I have come to see them as a tool that will make vending more relevant to consumers.
There is much still to learn about video screens. But streaming video technology is arriving fast. An article on page 92 explores this topic.
Vending doesn't exist in a vacuum
The vending industry does not exist in a vacuum; other retail venues have invaded its turf and grabbed many of its customers. At the same time, the technologies that are luring customers away from vending machines can be used to redirect their attention back to them.
The vending video screen is an innovation that can make this happen.
Think about it: what retail environment makes as much sense as a vending bank for a multi-sensory, point-of-sale message?
The technology is doable.
A video screen can be incorporated into a vending machine as an MDB peripheral.
Some benefits are immediately obvious: the ability to advertise products and services to customers. The question that is not as easy to answer is: Is there a need for this medium? Will advertisers reap a significant enough benefit using a vending video screen?
In the short time the technology has been tested, indications are positive.
A target marketing opportunity
Advertisers want to “target market.” The vending machine gives them this ability in a new and unique way. Vending machines reach consumers where they work.
A video screen on a vending machine offers an advertiser an opportunity to deliver a message at the time and place of purchase. By programming an advertisement on a vending machine, the advertiser sends the message to the consumer at a most opportune time.
There is no other buying scenario that commands the consumer's attention as completely as the vending machine; not the gasoline pump, not the supermarket shopping cart, not the store aisle or the store cashier. The vending consumer must face the machine and give full attention to making a purchase. For an advertiser, this is an excellent opportunity.
Vending software already allows machines to verify buying activity at the point of sale. Hence, advertisers will be able to measure the impact of their video messages.
An economical advertising buy
Feedback from the field indicates that the cost for this advertising is highly competitive with other forms of advertising. Not to mention the ability to target audiences based on workplace demographics.
This medium will be developed mainly by parties from outside the vending industry.
Vending operators, for their part, have other pressing challenges on the technology front, such as making their machines DEX and MDB capable and utilizing the immediate benefits of better cash accounting, line item tracking and cashless capability.
In the meantime, vending should be involved in the emerging medium of video screen technology.