A quiet revolution has taken place over the past 10 years in the world of vending machines. It seems our appetite for immediate access to the products we want has resulted in an explosion of what is now being offered via vending machines.
While they’ve long dispensed hot and cold drinks, snacks, and personal items like condoms and tampons to consumers and employees worldwide, the latest vending machines offer everything from gold bars to cars.
They’re also being used more and more in factories and construction sites to provide not just snacks and drinks but also the controlled delivery of tools and components.
This not only makes for a more efficient use of workers’ time—they don’t have to traipse from one location to another to get the tools or components they need—but also helps to prevent pilfering and fraud.
Like vending machines of old, these new vending machines allow consumers and employees to access the products they want 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Giving your employees easy access to the food and snacks or other products they want will go a long way to boosting workplace morale.
And if you’re selling to the public, your vending machines provide you with 24-hour profit-making potential.
But these new vending machines also feature such high-tech wizardry as:
- Biometric payment verification (Hitachi, for example, has created a new finger-vein authentication technology—called VeinID— which can be used to confirm a customer’s identity to stop fraud and identity theft)
- Wireless communications
- Digital downloads
- Remote stock-taking
- Interactive engagement with buyers
- Advertising and brand promotion potential
So what products are now being offered by businesses via vending machines?
They’re Vending Machines But Not As We Know Them
The days when vending machines offered just crisps, sweets, condoms, tampons or cigarettes are long gone. Nowadays, they offer consumers a massive variety of products, including makeup, bedding, alcohol, medicine, gold bars, printed artwork and even cars.
Beauty Products Vending Machines
Big beauty brands such as Sephora, Benefit and Essie have been quick to jump on the opportunities presented by vending machines. They’ve all created beauty vending machines at major American airports.
Customised Pillow Vending Machines
The Dream Machine by VyMaC Corporation can make you a custom pillow while you wait.
Buyers just identify the way they sleep, choose the pillow firmness they prefer and then watch as the machine makes the pillows. They can also choose optional extras such as embroidery or sachets that release aromas.
Car Vending Machines
American used car dealer, Carvana, offers customers in cities such as Atlanta, Houston and Nashville a streamlined, convenient and stress-free way to collect their cars.
Instead of insisting customers drive to a dealership, the company offers ‘fresh cars daily’ via its ‘car vending machine’.
It works like this: customers buy their cars online through the company’s website then they can pick their car up at the ‘vending machine’ using a Carvana-branded coin.
The vending machine in the Nashville case is inside a glass building that contains a Welcome Centre, a five-story glass tower storing up to 20 cars, three customer delivery bays and an automated delivery system that moves a customer’s vehicle from the tower and into a delivery bay.
Medicine Dispensing Vending Machine
The InstyMeds machine dispenses medicines on the spot and is located inside medical practices or surgeries.
Doctors enter their patient’s prescriptions electronically and provide a unique security code. The patient then enters the code along with their date of birth and then swipes their debit or credit card for payment. A triple bar code scan is performed on the drugs for safety, and then the pre-packed and labelled medicine is dispensed.
Champagne Vending Machine
Visitors to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Las Vegas can now celebrate their successes on the gambling tables with a mini bottle of Moet Champagne and little flute glass, delivered via a vending machine.
The only currency this one-of-a-kind champagne vending machine will accept, however, is Moet-branded gold coins.
Art Vending Machine
A vending machine in London is now offering artwork from over 35 emerging artists, according to TimeOut magazine. The prints are rolled up inside the machine and ready for people to buy.
The Vending Machine Art Gallery in Hoxton is an exhibition and affordable art project which sees art being made more accessible and crucially, affordable.
Gold Bar Vending Machines
There’s no need to stash your cash under a mattress—now you can buy a gold bar from a vending machine and bury it somewhere safe.
That’s because there are now GOLD to go™ Vending Machines (Gold ATMs) that enable you to buy and take immediate delivery of small gold bars and other gold products (including jewellery and coins) at the push of a button.
They’re available in the UK, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, the USA and the United Arab Emirates.