It’s a simple concept: you put your money in the slot, press a button or combination of buttons, the mechanism whirrs into action and your product appears in the opening. According to Smithsonian Magazine, the first vending machine was invented in the Roman Empire almost 2000 years ago, when Hero of Alexandria was tasked with finding a way to distribute blessed water in temples.
Of course, modern machines are slightly more sophisticated than their ancient ancestors. Across the world you can find everything from candy bars to playing cards, DVDs to sunflower seeds, packed into trusty vending machines. In fact, these machines are poised to become the economical solution of the future.
The Internet of Things – or IoT – is upon us, so what does this mean? It means that everything is connected; not just computers, smartphones and tablets… everything. Including vending machines.
Vending machines of the future – in fact, some vending machines can do this already – will be able to offer you tailored product recommendations based on what you have posted on social media. In addition, they will be able to connect you directly with special offers in exchange for social media promotion or recommendation.
In the age of information, every individual person is their own media outlet, active across 5.54 social media accounts (on average) and sending (collectively) 60bn messages across Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp every single day.
This has the potential to slash the marketing budget of caterers and vendors. When marketing opportunities are handed out on a plate like this, the amount of money which needs to be spent on active outbound marketing strategies falls considerably. This translates to serious savings for vendors and customers alike.
The Health Question
But reduced costs are not the be-all and end-all these days. Of course, in a time of global austerity, sensible pricing is important, but customers want more than this. They want other benefits, such as the prestige which comes from eating certain foods, the chance to sample diverse and sophisticated flavours, and, of course, access to healthy foods without an additional cost.
Healthy eating is big business, and, with the humble vending machine, catering companies have a chance to provide these calorie-conscious treats in a cost effective manner. This is what vending machines represent as an economical solution for businesses going forwards; reduced costs, without compromising on direct benefits to consumers.
To find out how much a vending machine can benefit your workplace, school, or other public area, get in touch with Robinson’s Vending today.