“Customers want faster, bigger and more variety,” said Harvey. This makes SCMMs especially popular added value providers. “It provides something our clients want,” he said. “But it has its place. You can’t put it everywhere.”
On the OCS side, Harvey has started thinking outside the box. Customers were always asking for healthier items, so his company began offering delivery of fresh fruits, along with coffee. “Not everyone drinks coffee,” said Harvey. The fruit is a way locations can offer something to those non-coffee drinkers that is also healthy. “As long as the company is willing to pay for it, I deliver things our competitors aren’t capable of delivering,” Harvey said.
Ancillary products like condiment packets, utensils, and napkins were once considered added value, but that’s changed. “If you want to sell food, you have to have ketchup packets or spoons,” Harvey said, “These are the items people need (in order) to eat it.” The only time these items become added value is if a location wants to offer something specific, like the expensive, sustainable utensils made of corn starch. “If I have a client who wants it, I’ll sell it to them,” Harvey said.
Kyle Yost, Denver market sales manager for Premier Services and Alpine Roastery in Englewood, Colo., is most successful with accounts when he pairs vending and coffee service. “I take a percentage of their vending sales and apply it directly to their coffee bill,” he said. It acts as a commission, but no money is actually sent to the location. “I closed an account just last week with this,” he added.
Even when he’s using SCMMs to sell an account, coffee becomes a great value added. Within the SCMM, he suggests the addition of a single-cup brewer where premium coffee can be purchased by the employee. Elsewhere, the location still offers free, regular brewed coffee. Employees appreciate the two options presented by the location.
The coffee can also make a difference. Alpine Roastery works directly with farmers in Africa to grow coffee beans. There’s a mill in Cameroon that grinds the beans, after which it is shipped directly to Alpine Roastery. “There’s no middle man,” said Yost. That allows Alpine to control the quality, while keeping the price lower, both of which Yost considers important added value to locations.
When Yost sells SCMMs, he adds more than just coffee to make it work for a location. “You need to dress the market up to the white collar atmosphere — display salads and fruits — and it will succeed,” he said. “If you treat the market like a vending machine, it won’t do well.”
Yost has even seen SCMMs used to help locations control supply costs, such as replacement safety glasses in a factory setting.
Health and wellness are a must
“The added value of micro markets is vast to customers,” said Ray Friedrich, CEO of Sterling Services in Canton, Mich. And for these college educated customers of SCMMs, Friedrich focuses on health and wellness products as added value.
“We have a pretty strong (health and wellness) program in both vending and convenience stores,” he said. The products in the health and wellness program have less fat, lower sodium and no trans fats. SCMMs specifically allow Friedrich to offer more healthy product variety, such as salads, fresh fruit, yogurt, cheese, etc.
Friedrich also customizes machines and offers customers credit card acceptance. “Added value is always part of our approach,” he said.
For Mike Bunt, general manager of corporate marketing equipment at Buffalo Rock Co. in Birmingham, Ala., bill recyclers often make more sense for adding value to vending machines than cashless. Added value, for him, isn’t so much about snacks and service as it is about making his products easy for the consumer to purchase.
“By adding $5, $10 or even $20 acceptance on venders, as well as credit/debit acceptance in certain situations, it’s just another added value,” he said. Because of the processing and connectivity fees of cashless, he feels they only make sense in about 10 percent of accounts, where bill recyclers make sense in 50 to 70 percent of locations. Bunt has even removed bill changers and replaced them with recyclers. He argues the $300 in change that would be needed to keep the bill changer filled buys a lot of recyclers. “I’m a firm believer in recyclers,” he said. And as for end users, they see the value because they prefer to get bills back instead of pockets full of quarters.