Raising prices is still a struggle for many operators in the vending industry. Increasing costs are at war with consumer reluctance to pay higher prices and competitors offering lower prices. It’s a tough balancing act in many markets, but there are operators who have broken through the price barrier, earning themselves loyal customers and good profit margins. And they didn’t do it with the lowest prices. They did it with other selling points, and I’m not just talking about micro markets.
At the root of vending service are words like convenience, customer service and snacks. These are important concepts, but they need to be taken to the next level. Convenience for the end user also means alternative types of payment (cashless, mobile, etc.) as well as creating an inviting breakroom employees want to use. If they come, more will buy. If the location warrants it, show them what you can offer in the form of breakroom renovation and entice them — then have the conversation about price and doing away with commissions. This will be a place for employees to recharge, purchase nourishment in order to be more productive (insert your healthy product options here), stay on location and also feel positive about the company they work for (loyalty and morale are always a winning combination).
Don’t forget that these special services also have to be highlighted to the end user, or they will push back at any price increases. Newsletters have been historically used to educate consumers, and the content easily converts to an email. There are also other ways such as social media, video screens, digital signage and clings. Even occasionally having a rep onsite to give out samples or branded giveaways can help spread your message to the end users.
If you haven’t sold them on your worth yet, try the all-important buzz word: security. In this issue, we discuss how public media has called electronic payment security into question. Read about the issue and how to reassure your locations on page 14.
Finally, don’t forget to talk about image. Locations appreciate working with other professional organizations that put time, money and effort into their appearance. That includes driver training as well as the look and reliability of vehicles. Those topics are in this issue as well.
Outside the industry, vending brings to mind a black box full of snacks. And that’s fine, but it will only ever encourage price comparisons. Transform your business into more, and highlight those aspects to customers, so you can ask for the prices you deserve.