In a year of complete uncertainty, Lindel Creed is sure about one thing: “The opportunity created by vending machines equipped with age verification technology has arrived now and will only get bigger.”
Creed is Vice President of Machine Operations for American Green. His own company is Vendweb, who manufactures a very specialized machine for American Green – the AGM – American Green Merchandiser. The AGM is equipped with age verification technology – biometrics that identify a pre-registered user through “vein architecture.”
Impact of Age Verification
Age verification vending means that operators are now able to sell products like tobacco, CBD, alcohol, certain medication and even cannabis. If that sounds far-fetched, several current trends are supporting Creed’s belief that age verification vending could be the next big thing.
Vending machines selling alcoholic beverages have been approved in Florida and other states are studying the idea. “Can you imagine how good that will be for smaller hotels and motels who will now be able to expand their offerings to guests, 24 hours a day, and totally controlled?” asked Creed.
Vending within a cannabis dispensary
Then of course, there is cannabis itself, now being sold out of AGM units in marijuana dispensaries in Arizona, using an operator, working with a dispensary on a revenue sharing basis.
Why would a cannabis dispensary want a vending machine? “The lines are so slow at dispensaries because customers want product information. The AGM provides videos, product information, lab reports and the whole educational process, freeing up the “budtender” and allowing customers to leisurely research their purchase,” explained Creed. “The AGM also eliminates face to face contact in a dispensary, which is very important to some people as we continue to deal with the pandemic.”
Huge growth of CBD
Beyond the walls of a dispensary, CBD products are at the top of the list for operators who are Creed’s customers. Clearly, CBD product sales are exploding and the forecast for growth points directly upward. As reported in Yahoo Finance, the CBD market in the U.S. is estimated to reach $13.39 billion in sales by 2024, growing at a compound annual growth rate of over 42% for the period 2020 to 2024.
The study notes that the growth of the CDB market has been driven by “a growing incidence of Alzheimer's disease, upsurge in healthcare expenditure, rising depression rate, increasing geriatric population, mounting online retail sales and expanding urbanization.”
An October article in NutritionalOutlook.com notes that “all of this sales growth for CBD is pretty remarkable when you consider that, even now, many retailers, regardless of channel, don’t carry CBD products. But given the tide that is sweeping CBD into the mainstream, more of those retailers may choose to go with the flow and begin stocking products.”
A CBD bounce from COVID-19
The NutritionalOutlook.com article suggests a possible jump in CBD product usage due to COVID-19. “It’s possible that the COVID-19 pandemic—so devastating to demand elsewhere—actually strengthened CBD’s retail wave. As Jessica Lukas, senior vice president of commercial development for cannabinoid data firm BDSA (Boulder, CO), points out, “A majority of consumers look to CBD for health benefits, citing many consumption drivers relevant to the COVID-19 situation: sleep, anxiety, relaxation, unwinding, and stress management.”
Where to place a CBD machine
As Creed points out, the right locations, as always, will generate the most revenue. Shopping malls, airports, hotel gift shops, pharmacy locations, health food stores and even traditional “smoke shops,” all have the potential to perform well.
A defining moment?
There are certain defining moments for people in the vending industry. My first such moment came in 1979, when an Asteroids video game was out of order because there was so much money in the cashbox, it had backed up into the coin slot. At that moment, I knew we were on to something.
In 2012, another defining moment, when I saw a micro market location do 10X more than the vending location we were operating.
Creed emphasizes that his AGM vendor and the doors of opportunity it can open are not a “get rich quick” scheme or a passing fad. “This is the ultimate ground floor, the beginning of a wave that will continue to grow and provide consistent long-term revenue – coupled with growth,” he said. “The result should be an excellent ROI for an operator.”
How to explore the opportunity
“We did not invent this age verification technology, but we have put it to work to create opportunity for operators,” said Creed. “What I am asking operators to do is connect with us, help us point you in the right direction to explore the opportunity, the challenges, the products to sell and the locations that are available to you.”
While it may not be a perfect fit for every operator, based on clearly undeniable trends, vending with age verification technology could be another one of those rare defining moments in our industry; a moment reserved for operators who take that first step.
To learn more, contact Lindell Creed at 704-718-3158.
Industry consultant Bob Tullio (www.tullioB2B.com) is a content specialist who advises operators in the convenience services industry on how to build a successful business from the ground up. Tullio just launched a You Tube Channel, b2b Perspective, designed to “elevate your business in 2 minutes” and is currently developing an online course, “Leverage the power of LinkedIn to grow your business.”
As he is a recognized industry expert in business development and sales, NAMA hired him to write and narrate the new online course, “Selling Convenience Services,” which is now available. Use discount code B2B10 for an instant discount and for free access to upcoming Q & A Webinars from Tullio in the coming months. Here is a free sample of the course.