Snack vending machines come in all shapes and sizes.
Some are small enough to hang on a wall and some are the full size floor models like the one I had. Some are electronic that you plug into an electric wall socket. Some are manually operated that don’t require any electricity at all.
There are snack vending machines that offer user’s the chance to buy a coffee right out of the same machine, while others can vend soda and other cold beverages. There is snack vending machines that do all three! That’s right, these machines offer customers the chance to buy coffee, cold beverages and snack products out of the same machine.
I’ve seen a snack vending machine that sells cigarettes. I’ve seen a snack vending machine that sells hockey cards.
I’ve also seen a snack vending machine that sell bus passes to access the local transit system. And I’ve even seen a demo where one of my local distributors showed me how he could vend a can of three (3 ) tennis balls out of a snack vending machine! That actually impressed me.
So what does this all mean and how do you choose the right kind of snack vending machine?
You need to have as much flexibility with your snack machine as possible. I wanted my machines to be able to have maximum flexibility to sell my customers whatever they wanted (within reason and legal parameters) and I needed to have the machine that was capable of doing that.
This meant I needed…
Pricing flexibility. I needed to be able to raise or lower my prices according to my supplier costs or customer demands. That meant I needed to have snack vending machines that gave me that option without any additional equipment upgrades. That meant mechanical was out, you just don’t have the kind of pricing flexibility with mechanical as you do with electronic. With electronic you can raise or lower prices of individual selections and do that within seconds. With a mechanical snack vending machine you might have a customer stand in front of your machine with a pocket full of coins but your mechanical machine can’t sell her anything because it isn’t configured to accept certain coins.
Payment options. All my snack vending machines came with built in capabilities to add payment options. I could have added a bill acceptor if I wanted to. This may have boosted sales if the customer had bills in her pocket instead of coins. Some machines may allow you to add credit card or smart card capabilities. Product options. Have you seen the Pringles chips business opportunity? How about the Campbell’s soup business opportunity? There are others and in my view Pringles chips are good products as is Campbell’s soup, but the business opportunity is garbage.
For $100 at the time I owned my business I could have purchased an add-on to install that would have given me the ability to sell cans of Campbell’s soup if I wanted to. I would have had to sell a lot of soup to pay for it though. Plus when the Pringles chip business opportunity was going around I bought a coil for one of my snack vending machines that allowed me to sell that product. For $20 at the time I was selling the same thing those so-called ” Pringles Vending Machines ” were doing!
A lot of people lost a lot of money buying into those so-called business opportunities. I know because I saw the machines for sale months after I saw those so called business opportunities advertised. The bottom line with snack vending machines is that they can be extremely versatile. You can sell a lot of different types of products other than just snacks. The ability to change your prices quickly and easily are vital and the option of installing additional payment capabilities is also a necessity.
Don’t limit your options when you purchase snack vending machines. At some point in your business you may want to sell a higher cost item(s) and there is a good chance that snack vending machines may be able to do that for you.