Opportunity, flexibility, the convenience of access, and potentially unlimited expansion characterize the vending sector. They are a brilliant option for your business to enhance the client experience while also generating revenue.
Vending machines provide more possibilities than you would expect, as well as an unattended resource for client satisfaction.
Are you thinking of installing vending machines at your place of business or office? Then let’s have a look at the various types of vending machines to assist you to determine which one to purchase before you make your final decision.
Segregation of Machines on various basis
1. Size And Capacity
Vending Machines can vary in size, as well as in the capacity of the total number of items that can be displayed for sale at once.
A bigger vending machine would reduce the cost of refilling it too often, provided the machine is making sufficient sales to cover the cost of a larger-sized investment.
For some business owners, placing more small or average-sized machines might be a wiser, more profitable option. Cost-benefit analysis of the pros and cons of a bigger or smaller machine.
Smaller vending machines that sell one or a few items generally come with a wall-mounting option. This enables the owner to permanently fix the machine at a secure location.
Wall-mounting not only saves space but also gives the area a minimalist, aesthetic appearance. Since the machine does not come in contact with any other objects nearby, it also raises the durability of the machine and prevents the finish from wearing off.
Larger vending machines that cannot be mounted are placed on a stand or directly on the ground. Although this exposes the machine to dust and debris on the ground, it is probably the best option since mounting larger models of vending machines can be risky.
Wheels or Appliance Casters:
Sometimes, vending machines have an option to be fixed with wheels or casters which would enable them to be moved around freely. Although this function might not be useful at most locations and might be a threat to its security, mobility might come in handy for facilitating the process of cleaning and servicing.
These machines are not equipped with temperature control within the storage unit. They are the ideal choice for the sale of non-perishable items, and items that do not require refrigeration.
Since they operate at room temperature, they consume less power and make the sale more profitable for the business owner. They even cut the maintenance cost in the long run.
Some vending machines come with a combination of both, refrigerated and non-refrigerated compartments within the same machine. This enables the seller to set up the machine to sell varying products, while also not wasting the power consumption on items that do not require temperature monitoring.
These types of machines are ideal since the vendor doesn’t have to stick to a single type of product to be sold.
Vending Machines that sell food items and beverages often require to be kept in a cool, refrigerated setting. Vending Machines are also equipped with temperature control and can display items for sale while also keeping them fresh and ready to serve.
Soda vending machines are the primary example of beverage vending machines. Sometimes, popular soda brands such as Coke and Pepsi also set up exclusive vending machines that sell only their product. Beverage vending machines also sell coffee, iced tea, and other conventional beverages.
There are countless variations of vending machines that sell ready-to-consume, hot items. The first and the most popular type of hot vending machine is a tea/coffee/milk/water vending machine.
The second type of hot vending machine is the one that maintains a warm temperature for selling ready-to-eat fast food meals.
The third type is the high-end hot food vending machine that prepares a hot meal with semi-cooked ingredients that are placed within the machine.
Frozen / Ice Cream:
Softy machines are the most popular frozen-food vending machine. A few models also come with the option of topping dispensers. Similarly, there are ice cream machines that sell pre-packed popsicles and factory-made ice-creams.
Vend the Packed Product:
In India, a majority of conventional vending machines sell packed items with a fixed MRP. These packed items have unmatched popularity.
These are also convenient to sell since they have a longer expiration period, and do not need to be stored at a measured temperature. From a wholesale point of view, these items are also easy to procure in bulk.
The most common types of packed products are –
- Snacks: including chips, wafers, and chocolates of brands like Lays, Doritos, Cadbury, Nestle, etc
- Food: including ready-to-cook frozen food and just-add-water meals like ramen and pasta. Popular brands include McCain, Maggi, Knorr, MTR, and Haldiram
- Beverage: including bottled energy drinks and canned sodas of brands like Coke, Pepsi, Gatorade, Monster, etc
- Condiments: including tetra-packed milk, yogurt, and other packed dips and chocolate spreads
- Sanitary Napkins: individually packed sanitary napkins are an essential good that is often vended in women’s public washrooms.
Vending Processed Items:
These products are usually food items, including but not limited to beverages, ice-creams, fresh fruit juices, and 2-minute meals.
The vending machine is equipped with basic ingredients and the machinery to mix the ingredients and process them to produce fresh and ready-to-serve items.
Premix And Hot Water Mixing:
The vending machines process ingredients like pre-made mix along with water or milk to dispense cold or hot drinks such as tea, coffee, cold brews, soup, and soda vending.
These are very popular in India as well as in other countries. The mechanism behind it is that the machine has separate sections for different flavors of sodas. While the base of the soda is the same, flavors are mixed into it before dispensing them to the customers.
Soft vending machines are widely used by popular restaurant chains like McDonald’s, and KFC as well as local restaurants and cafeterias. The machine has a pre-made Ice-cream mix and the vending machine maintains the temperature to keep it from melting.
Some vending machines abroad have the technology to dispense freshly-squeezed fruit juices at the customer’s call.
The next category of vending machines is liquid vending. These machines dispense simply one product. These are placed at locations where the demand for a single product exceeds the demand for individual products. These items usually have a steady customer flow since most of the customers are regular purchasers.
The most common liquid vending machines are-
- Water: Places like railway stations and bus stops are equipped with water vending machines where the customers can pay to refill their containers as per their needs.
- Milk: Mother Dairy is one such brand that has made milk dispensing machines popular in India, especially in Delhi. These machines are refilled by the shop-owner regularly and the customers can directly purchase milk at any hour.
5. Selection method
For carrying out a purchase through a vending machine that sells more than one product, the customer needs to select the option of their choice before making the payment and receiving their product.
This method of selection can vary in different vending machines, depending on the technology. These main selection methods –
The first and most common selection method in multi-vending machines is the keypad. Each product has a unique code to it. The customer needs to press the code to select their option.
Despite being the oldest form of input method in multi-vending machines, the keypad system is the most reliable and durable selection option.
- Touch screen
Over the last decade, the touch-screen revolution also reached the vending machine business. This selection method is very user-friendly and the chances of making a selection error are reduced since the touch screen option also eliminated the “code” system where the user could just select the items of their choice.
- Mobile app-based
Since the introduction of Smart Vending Machines, the selection system can be transferred directly to the customer’s mobile phone.
The customers can now use the app of the vendor, scan the code of the vending machine, and directly make a cashless purchase.
- Payment method
Throughout the evolution of vending machines, the payment method also transformed according to the time and needs of the generation.
Vending machines can be programmed to accept specific currencies or even prepaid tokens or swipe cards. A few of the common payment methods include:
A majority of the vending machines that exist today and for the last two decades have been cash-operated machines. The customer simply needs to slide in the currency note and the machine will scan and accept the payment before purchase.
Many cash-operated machines are also programmed to return change in case the customer offers a note with a higher denomination than the price of the product.
A common problem that arose with this mode of payment was the problem of the machine not having enough change. Many customers would have to try a different machine in case they did not have the exact amount of money.
This is perhaps the oldest mode of payment used by vending machines. The customer just needs to drop a currency coin in the socket and the machine will dispense the product. This model is still used by Gumball Vending Machines as well as Sanitary Napkin Dispensers.
In some stores/businesses, there are vending machines that take cash and dispense a special coin that would be used for the purchase of a different good or service.
This machine would act as a mediator between cash payment and the product/service received. Metro trains and Gaming Arcades are examples of places that use coin-changing machines.
Over the last two decades, Debit and Credit Cards have gained popularity in the Vending Machine Business. Some vending machines are connected to networks that enable them to accept card payments in exchange for products.
Card-based payments were the first form of cashless transactions brought into the Vending Machine Market.
Cashless UPI or QR payment:
After the Indian Economy opened its doors to UPI-based payments, Smart Vending Machines have been equipped with the resources to make the process of purchase completely cashless.
The customers can scan the QR code or enter the UPI ID of the business and the machine would accept the payment instantly.
Another way to do this is by using the apps that are designed for the vending machine company and the entire process of selection and payment would take place directly through the customers’ phones.
6. Add ons
1. Display ads
Another possibility for a Vending Machine Business to gain surplus profits is by utilizing the space on the machine for advertisement purposes. Since the machines are situated at locations with high footfalls, many brands would be interested in renting the space for their customized ads.
2. Vending v/s Reverse vending
Vending Machines that sell packed products add to the world’s growing amount of consumer waste. Reverse vending machines are a capitalist solution to the global ecological crisis. These machines accept used beverage containers and cans in return for money to the customer.
Although these aren’t aimed at making a profit, the business owner would sell the used containers to recycling factories in return for a greater amount of money than what was paid to the customer and would keep the difference as profit.
In some countries, the Government even reimburses the vending machine owners in the name of non-profit environmental work.
Considering that the vending business can be overwhelming, it’s crucial to have a reliable partner who can assist you through the process and provide the help you’ll need along the way.
Wendor.in has been assisting people in running their own businesses for a long time. We will not impose restrictions on your business or dictate how it should be run like a franchisor might. Rather, we are here to assist you in achieving your goals by providing unbeatable top-notch services.
Our machines are fully equipped with everything you’ll need to be successful. Discover more about Smart Vending solutions at Wendor to learn more about starting a business with the least amount of money upfront.
Frequently Ask Questions (FAQs)
Q: What exactly is an Internet of Things (IoT) vending machine?
A: Smart vending machines, enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT), can assist businesses in meeting their customers’ expectations for efficient, personalized shopping, no matter where they are. IoT edge devices, such as touchpads and touchless screens, provide for flexible and interactive purchase experiences.
Q: What is the minimum amount of investment required in a vending machine?
A: The primary investment required to start a vending machine business goes into purchasing the machine itself. Therefore the investment can vary depending upon the type of machine you purchase and the items you are looking to sell.
If we take an example of a cash-based, refrigerated, snack-vending machine, the cost of a brand-new vending machine would roughly add up to ₹1,25,000.
Assuming that the location is acquired on a profit-sharing basis, the only other expenses left would be the power consumption and the cost of refilling the machine.
The cost of the items to be refilled would be around ₹25,000 for a month and the power consumption is less than ₹500. All of the costs add up to be no more than ₹1,50,000 for the establishment of one vending machine.
After this, the monthly expenditure on the machines would be negligible since the only cost to be paid would be the electricity bill, which would be covered by the profits received from the sale of the items.