Blog: Alternatives To Setting Vending Machines Out To Pasture

March 27, 2014

I’ve seen my share of vending graveyards. Those poor machines with no place to go, being harvested for parts for newer colleagues. With the advent of micro markets, how many more machines will be added – standing like grave markers to days gone by? Maybe not as many as you think.

Drum up new business

Choosing to adding micro markets to prime locations might be easy. But what do you do with the old machines. The best answer I’ve heard is to go in search of new business. Start a contest for sales representatives, provide incentive for them to find new locations. Give a bonus to route drivers for spotting new buildings along routes or some other way to aggressively add new customers where you will be able to utilize the vending machines.

It’s also time to consider the smaller location. Maybe that account wouldn’t have been profitable if you’d had to purchase a brand new machine for it, but now that you have a vender to spare, take a second look at the location that is just at the cusp of being profitable.

Snacking in the U.S. is gaining popularity. According to the Hartman Group, Americans consume an average of 2.3 snacks a day, mostly in the afternoon and early evening hours. This means there are business opportunities out there for the vending operator.

New business model

Another alternative to storing old machines is leasing or selling a machine to a company that wants vending, but is too small. This might be the prime time to experiment with a different method of vending. Perhaps it’s time to try a model similar to vending in Europe by selling an older machine to a location. Then treat the vending at that location more like an office coffee service business. Offer to make deliveries of product or provide full service (for a fee), etc. This is the time to take an asset and think outside the box until it becomes revenue generating once again.

Micro markets have created an exciting buzz in the industry, but there’s a reason the vending machine has been around for decades. It’s a good way to offer products to many different types of locations, from offices to port docks. It’s estimated there are roughly 5 million vending machines out there and many are at locations. Put them to good use. The tried and true automatic merchandiser is standing ready to serve and that’s as true today as it was years ago.