Some two thousand years ago, the Greek mathematician and engineer Hero of Alexandria constructed the very first vending machine. By placing a coin in a slot, some holy water was dispensed. Today, both New York Times and the German Manager Magazin dedicated exclusive articles to the return of the vending machine. So what is so exciting about new vending machines?
First, technology advancements like touchscreens and cashless payments make the buying process more convenient to shoppers. No more bending over to get one’s chocolate bar, no more collecting coins for a cup of coffee.
Second, the introduction of wider assortments and new product categories changed the image of the vending machine. Cutting-edge electronic accessories, high-end make-up and branded apparel well curated in fashionable vending machines are replacing gum and cigarette automates which dominated our train stations and airports.
Third, vending machines combine advantages of both traditional and online retailing. 24/7 shopping and instant delivery of the product purchased. This meets the demands of modern shoppers calling for a more convenient, self-service shopping experience.
Also marketers discovered the vending machine as a platform for viral marketing ads leveraging on the old and outdated image of a simple and boring automate.
Lay’s will surprise customers at supermarkets with its vending machine turning raw potatoes (as a currency instead of coins) into bags of chips. Coca-Cola created the happiness machine which dispenses more than just regular bottles of soft drinks.
Vending machines also found its way into art. Oliver Sturm’s Prayomat offers prayers of different kinds while Ronnie Yarisal and Katja Kublitz created the Anger Release Machine which destroys plates and cups in exchange for coins.
So next time you are waiting for your train, better keep some change for these new and exciting vending machines.
What’s your favorite vending machine?
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