There are a lot of crazy vending machines out there. In the past, we have talked about non-traditional vending, healthy vending, talking vending machines, and vending machines that bring people from different cultures together. For the most part, these are not machines customers can experience everywhere, and a lot of them are used for promotional material. Healthy vending and non-traditional vending are not for every vendor out there, but at least healthy vending is a rising trend in the industry.
If we were to look at traditional vending machines, it would be a matter of experience and taste people have in terms of deciding which machines would be best for them and their business. Some vendors prefer the newer Royal machines for reliability, while others are big fans of Dixie-Narcos. Whatever the case may be, this is the list of five crazy vending machines vendors would not want in their vending business but are still cool concepts showcasing a different type of technology. Enjoy!
Douwe Egberts installed a vending machine equipped with facial recognition software in an airport. What the machine does is read a person’s face when they are yawning in front of the machine. Once the machine reads the facial expression, it immediately vends a fresh cup of coffee for the person for free. It’s a nice surprise for people tired from flying or waiting in long lines for security. It was great promotion for Douwe Egberts, as well, but having this machine in your vending business would be devastating. I have never paid my bills with yawns before, and I am sure that is currency that vendors also cannot use. The good news is that interactive technology on these crazy vending machines will be a theme throughout this post, and it might give you that idea you have been looking for on how to attract more people to your vending machines.
2. Dance for a Coke
I wish I had seen crazy vending machines like this when I lived in South Korea. However, I can say from personal experience that I have seen a lot of great South Korean dancers. This is good news for this Coke vending machine using an Xbox Kinect camera to record the dance moves of thirsty dancers as they bust a move until a soda pops out of the machine. However, have vendors ever danced their way through an inventory purchase? If you have, let us know! More to the point, the use of motion controls for vending machines makes the interaction with the machine and the reward of getting a product that much sweeter. It is less convenient, but it does offer people more fun. Of course, we don’t encourage vendors to retrofit their current machines with Kinect sensors and ask their customers to dance while putting in their dollar bills. However, having engaging and crazy vending machines like this available for promotional benefits could be a profitable notion.
Coke really seems to enjoy utilizing crazy vending machines to make a splash; in a university in Singapore, Coke put a machine that reads on the front “Hug Me.” When students hug the machine, a Coca Cola comes out for them to enjoy. This works really well with Coke’s mission statement of inspiring moments of happiness. Who doesn’t like to give or receive hugs? Well, vendors need more than a physical gesture of affection in order to pay their employees. Giving away product for a hug is not a great business model, but it is a great marketing campaign for Coke and a very fun and interactive experience for customers who enjoy seeing crazy vending machines. Amazingly, some people even got to hugging each other. Now that is making the world a better place.
Some of these crazy vending machines can even detect a smile. Imagine this: an ice cream vending machine asking to take a picture of you smiling in return of some creamy, sweet ice cream. Using augmented reality technology, facial recognition software, and a Facebook account, anyone can get a free ice cream from this vending machine. The machine asks customers to stand in front of a screen, smile as wide as they can, and then takes a picture to upload to Facebook. The wider you smile, the more likely you are to get some ice cream. Smiles are great to have from customers, but it’s impossible for smiles to put food on vendors’ tables. However, the technology is innovative and interesting, and the ice cream is delicious. Who wouldn’t smile for a tasty treat?
Remember those Klondike Bar commercials where they would ask people what would they do for those ice cream sandwiches? Take the same idea, but put it in some crazy vending machines. If a vending machine told you to press a button 100 times to get a free product, would you press it? How about 200 times? 500 times? 5000 times? If not that, would you get on your knees, raise your hands above your head, and bow to the machine? These are questions that Fantastic Delites was looking to answer. It turns out that people would press a button thousands of times to get free product, and they would bow down before the machine in order to have some free food. However, I think for vendors, the only two things they care about customers doing are putting money in the machine and enjoying the product they purchased. It’s a fun machine to interact with and watch how others interact with it, but to have this as a part of a route would make customers feel weary.
So those are five crazy vending machines you would not want in your vending business, but they feature technology that might be incorporated for the future of vending. Have you seen other crazy vending machines out there? Let us know in the comments below, and share this story with all of your friends.