Vending has been around for a while, but did you that now is the time to capitalize on it? You’re probably thinking, “but vending is just so boring.”
Before there were healthy vending machines with 23″ LCD screens displaying advertisements and product information, or touch screen computers taking your orders, or vending machines that correct their own problems, there were “traditional” vending machines. Before the egg, there was the chicken – or was that vice-versa?
Here’s a little vending timeline:
1880’s – The first commercial coin-operated vending machines were introduced in the UK. It dispensed post cards. Soon after, one was invented to dispense books. The rest was history …
Late 1800’s (circa 1888) – By this time vending had become a hot commodity. It was a convenient way for people to get what they need cheap, easy, and on-the-go. In 1888 the first vending machine was introduced to the United States. It was installed on the subway platforms in New York and sold Tutti-Fruiti Gum.
Early to Late 1900’s – The early 1900’s brought such memorable favorites like the gumball machine, soda machines, and stamp machines. Vending had gone to another level. Vending machines were being adapted to fit the role of several very different businesses. Some examples were, tobacco, postage, post cards, concessions, and even the restaurant business. In 1902, the first coin-operated restaurant opened in Philadelphia and kept its doors opened until 1962!
Tribulations – In the Late 1900’s to present the vending machine business has plateaued and even lost a lot of business given the influx of credit card use and, what seems to be an avoidance to the tide of change (i.e. most still use rudimentary technology from the 1960′s).
Various variations were developed as a result of the invention of the vending machine. Throughout the late 1900’s to present, vending machines have become more user-friendly, have adapted to the tech fever that’s going around, and have broken into yet another industry – the health industry.
Given the fact that the current business model is obsolete and just doesn’t provide the income that once enticed people to open a vending machines business, let’s briefly consider 3 businesses that are profitable and/or booming and see if we can somehow apply it to the vending machines business:
Business #1– The health industry has been at a constant incline since the Richard Simmons began his wacky routine in the 80′s. Today, with role models like “the Situation” from that TV show people are more inclined to exercise and eat healthy.
Application #1 – There are a few ways we can combine the health business with the vending machines business. Here’s the most obvious one: how about taking all of the junk food out of the machine and replacing it with healthy products?
Business #2 – The technology (tech) industry, I’m sure we can all agree, has been where the majority of today’s millionaires and billionaires are made. Given the fact that this is multi-billion dollar industry, why wouldn’t you want to incorporate it?
Application #2 – Adding a touch screen ordering system to increase usability as well as appeal is always a good idea. One way to see your vending profits increase instantly would be to add a credit card reader. After, all who carries cash around these days? Another innovative way to utilize tech in your new healthy vending machines business is to add a cool LCD TV.
Business #3 – The marketing/advertising business is an important industry that will forever have a place in the world of business. All businesses need it and most profit from it. You can market and advertise everywhere: the internet, using print, on billboards, in the sky, and so forth. So why not the vending machines business?
Application #3 – Adding an LCD TV allows you to do 3 things that other vending machines can’t and will not.
1) You will be able to advertise products, and, if you work it right, be able to keep a percentage of what the advertiser pays per month. That alone gives your vending machine a SECOND way to make money!
2) You can also advertise and give information for the products that you are selling. This doesn’t add income, well, in a sense it does if you consider how many more people you would be engaging with your unique and cool looking LCD TV.
3) This one is less obvious and sort of ties into #2, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless. Simply put, your vending machine will have the “Wow” factor. People will want to come up to it and look at it. So, if you have products that are of good quality and taste, it essentially translates to more sales.
The future of the vending looks bleak. However, the future of healthy vending is one that is innovative, thought-out, and extremely promising.