Shared by taylor Sunday, November 20, 2016

Step 1: Insert dollar bill

Step 2: Re-insert dollar bill after its been returned to you by rubbing it on the corners of the machine. Stare at small dollar bill slot in hopes the bill isn’t spit back out.

Step 3: Press weird plastic button for item of choice, let’s say B-17.

Step 4: Watch as the swirly twirly little plastic device (hopefully) drops your item-of-choice to the depths of machine bottom.

Step 5: Reach hand in to obnoxiously heavy plastic door to retrieve your Snickers / Doritos / Pink Sno Balls / {Insert unhealthy snack choice here}.

Ah, it’s good to reminisce. (Or is it?) Vending has come a long way since experiences similar to the collective nightmare above. In fact, it’s almost impossible to walk through an airport without a bombardment of branded and convenient vending options.

Need to glam up before takeoff? Almost every airport across America is equipped with Benefit “Glam Up and Away” machines for your beautifying convenience. Forget your iPhone charger? (Don’t we all?) Fear not. There’s likely an Apple or Best Buy machine at a gate near you. Traveling with the baby? Good news. The Honest Company has partnered with Zoom Systems for vending machines that carry diapers, wipes, extra pacifiers and rash cream in some of the Nation’s busiest airports.

By the year 2020—less than four years away—the global installed base of intelligent vending machines is projected to rise 2.7 million units. Here at HB, we’d argue that’s a low projection, considering the ways in which brands should be planning to capitalize on their own vending opportunities.

Other countries are far, far ahead of us in the retail vending space. Namely, Japan. The country has the highest ratio of vending machines to landmass in the entire world, currently home to 5 million machines. So many products are available in an uber-convenient fashion, selling everything from fruit to lingerie to meals to toys—dispensing all of life’s necessities and many of its frills. Japan is a vending wonderland.

“If you need a date, a vending machine will provide leads on prospects. If you are sightseeing and have forgotten a camera, a machine sells throwaway cameras. If you visit a public sauna and want to feel fresh afterwards, machines there sell underwear. On your way to an appointment and without your business cards? A company is developing a machine that will print them out instantly.” –The New York Times

This trend of vending and its growing adoption is a testament to the speeding pace of human life. Whereas convenience was once a treat rather than a necessity.

Even the world’s hottest upcoming tech IPO is using vending as its delivery mechanism for launching its latest hardware product. At Millennials. And it’s working. Snap’s Spectacles are garnering incessant Command+R refreshes of its website in hopes of spotting the next 24-hour vending location sooner than your line-standing enemies.

So, as we move from unhealthy candies to Apple iPhone 12s being dispensed by a machine, what does that mean for retail? Will we continue to visit the grocery store or get a day-supply of groceries out of a bigger box?

First, it means you’ll be seeing brands and retailers begin to use vending as a new (experiential) way to market to their audience. And they won’t be confined to offices or local Malls. Rather, they’ll be working their way to street corners and apartment buildings, they’ll be in your neighborhood. Targeted, of course, to the demographic and needs of the neighborhood—but they’ll be there.

And the brands doing so will likely thrive.

There may be a lot of good that comes from this trend as well: Cultural issues such as obesity, inner-city infant formula needs, HIV prevention, homelessness and gun control may be addressed in new and clever ways with the use of vending technology. As an example: Vending Machines encourage recycling bottles to feed stray Animals.

The possibilities are endless and we strongly encourage brands to think of the opportunities that may be available to them to market themselves, increase revenue and develop brand loyalty.

If you’d like to chat about this and how we may help your brand activate its vending potential, get in touch! We’d love to talk!