Today, vending machines are a huge part of the economy. In fact, according to one source, they generate billions in sales worldwide. From coffee and sodas to chips and candy bars, the variety of items you can get from a vending machine is almost limitless. If you want to start your own thriving business, it’s time for you to consider vending machines.
Vending machines are a great way to provide people with snacks and drinks in public places such as schools and workplaces. Vending machines can also be placed in locations such as shopping malls and airports. The main reason why vending machines have become so popular is that they are easy to use and allow people who are in a rush or cannot leave their spot to get snacks and drinks.
Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started with your vending machine business.
1. Choose What You Want to Sell
There are different types of vending machines available for you to choose from, depending on the type of items you want to sell. The following are some common types:
Coffee Machines – coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. Therefore, it makes sense that there are many coffee machines in almost every location imaginable. But besides coffee, you can also sell tea and hot chocolate from your vending machine since they are equally popular among people from various backgrounds.
Soda Machines – besides selling different types of teas and coffees, you can also sell sodas. Soda vending machines are popular with students who often buy soda during their school break or when they are studying.
Snack Machines – this is another type of vending machine that you can use to make money. Snacks are popular among children and students, but adults who need a quick snack during their breaks are also very likely to buy from your vending machine. Some snacks that people often buy include chips, candy bars, and granola bars.
Refrigerated Machines – aside from selling snacks and drinks, you can also sell other items such as sandwiches or fruit pouches in your vending machine. This type of vending machine is perfect for locations such as workplaces where people usually have their breaks during lunchtime.
2. Choose a Location to Put Your Vending Machine
After you have decided what you want to sell in your vending machine, the next step is choosing a good location. There are many spots where you can place your vending machine. The following are some of them:
Business Spaces – this is one of the most popular locations for vending machines. You can place your vending machine inside break rooms, cafeterias, or even in hallways.
Schools – this is another popular location for vending machines because both students and teachers often have their breaks during lunchtime. Also, in some schools, a vending machine can be a good alternative for a snack bar in the cafeteria.
Workplaces – people in workplaces often need quick snacks and drinks when they have their breaks. This is why it makes sense to put vending machines in these locations so that people will be able to get what they want immediately without leaving the building or office.
Retail Stores – some retail stores such as grocery and convenience stores benefit from having a vending machine since shoppers who need a quick snack or drink will usually visit these stores.
Conference Halls – nowadays, many conference halls provide vending machines where conference attendees can buy snacks and drinks during their breaks. This is why you should consider putting your vending machine inside a conference hall to sell items that people may need while attending conferences or presentations.
3. Set the Price
Once you have chosen the location of your vending machine, you need to set its price. The way you set its price can affect the number of items that are sold in your vending machine per day. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have considered all factors before deciding on a price for every item in your vending machine. Here are the things you need to consider when setting the price.
Repeat Customers – one of the most important things that you need to remember when setting a price is whether your customers are repeat buyers. For example, if you sell items in a workplace, it’s likely that many of the people who buy from your vending machine will be repeat customers who visit your location daily or at least several times a week. In this case, you should set the price of your items at a level where you will benefit from repeat sales.
Profit Margin – another factor that you should consider when setting the price of each item in your vending machine is your profit margin. Your goal should be to make enough money from selling items in your vending machine without overpricing them.
Competition – you should also consider your competitors when setting the price of each item in your vending machine. Make sure that you are offering your items at a lower price than what your competitors are charging for similar products.
Supply and Demand – last but not least, supply and demand is also an important factor that you need to take into account when setting the price of each item in your vending machine. For example, if there is a high demand for a particular item and there aren’t many competitors selling this product, then you should set the price higher than its usual range to really take advantage of the situation.
4. Make Sure Your Vending Machine is Well-Maintained
You should also make sure that you keep your vending machine in good condition. This means checking the inside of the vending machine regularly, restocking it promptly when supplies run out, and cleaning it on a regular basis.
Some of the maintenance tasks that you need to perform on your vending machine include oiling the gears to ensure they run smoothly, testing all equipment before every use, checking the stock to make sure there are no faulty items in it, and making sure that everything is well-stocked.
5. Attract Customers to Your Vending Machine
You should also be ready to convince customers to use your vending machine. This means putting it in a location that is easy for people to find, keeping it stocked with items that are popular, and making sure that you are offering the best customer service possible.
Being available for your customers is one of the most important customer service skills that you need to learn and master if you want to be successful in this business. Simply stated, your customers will appreciate and even prefer a vending machine that is operated by a real person who is familiar with the product and can recommend or suggest items they might like.
Taking Orders – another customer service skill that you need to learn is taking orders. It’s important to know how to take orders correctly if you want your customers to enjoy using your vending machine and be willing to recommend it to others as well.
Delivering Orders – in addition, make sure that you can deliver the items sold in your vending machine on time and properly. You need to avoid making mistakes that might annoy customers, such as not including the right change or failing to deliver hot drinks in a timely manner.
Recommending Items – last but not least, you need to know how to recommend items properly. Simply put, customers will appreciate a vending machine operator who is familiar with the products and can make appropriate recommendations based on their preferences and tastes.
6. Provide Great Customer Service
You should always be ready to provide great customer service when you operate a vending machine business. Your main goal as a vendor is to make sure that your customers are satisfied and happy, so they will want to keep buying from you again and again. This means keeping the items stocked in your vending machine fresh, making sure your customers don’t have to wait too long before they get the items they want, and being courteous by using a positive attitude and dressing smartly. Being friendly, polite, and smiling is also a big plus that will make you more popular with your customers.
If you feel that providing good customer service is something you aren’t comfortable with, then you can always hire employees to serve your customers for you. Being successful is often as simple as making the effort to learn some customer service skills and being willing to provide it. After all, that’s what separates the great vendors from the bad ones.
7. Reward Loyal Customers
You should also reward loyal customers if you hope to keep them coming back again and again. This means offering special deals, such as discounts on bulk purchases or mail-order catalogs that you can send out regularly. You could also offer frequent buyer cards that can be used to accumulate points and earn discounts over time.
While these strategies might seem basic, it’s amazing how few people actually take the time to reward their loyal customers properly. If you want repeat business, then it’s important that you go out of your way to make all of your customers feel special and appreciated at every opportunity.
Finally, you’ll need to think about security when running a vending machine business. This means having adequate insurance and installing security cameras and alarms if necessary. While it might seem like an unnecessary expense at first, you should take measures to protect your customers and your property, since many people will assume that crime is always a serious concern whenever something valuable is stored in a public location for everyone to use.
Running a vending machine business can be a lot of fun, but it’s important to remember that it’s also a serious business. There are certain skills and traits that you’ll need to master in order to be successful, such as taking orders correctly, providing great customer service, and rewarding loyal customers. You’ll also need to think about security and make sure you have adequate insurance in case something goes wrong. With the right attitude and some effort, you should be able to run a successful vending machine business that pleases your customers and makes you money.