The vending industry is constantly evolving – evoking excitement throughout the vending community and its customers. With new technology, more innovative products, and changing consumer behaviors, vending machines are becoming more than just a convenient snack option; they’re an essential part of our lives.
Statistics suggest that the vending industry is set to transform into innovative features and exciting new trends. This article explores the top vending trends to look forward to this year, from tech-savvy machines to health-focused products. We have analyzed the top vending trends to look forward to this year so you can stay ahead of the curve and maximize your profits.
The current state of the vending industry
With over 100 million machines and $98.7 billion in revenue, the vending business is among the most profitable retail channels and is expected to continue growing. The rise of e-commerce has transformed the retail industry, and vending machines are following suit.
The rise of tech-savvy machines
As e-commerce continues to grow, customers are becoming accustomed to tech-savvy, convenient, and easy-to-use machines. Vending machines now offer seamless experiences through a wide selection of products, multiple payment methods, and personalized experiences. In addition, these machines are expected to become more intelligent through machine-to-machine communication, data analytics, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). With machine-to-machine communication, for example, vending machines can communicate with each other to share product data and sales figures. Today’s machines have sensors and software that efficiently track inventory and customer preferences. This makes it easy for operators to offer products that appeal to their target market.
People are looking for ways to live healthier lives, from fitness trackers to healthy snacks. The vending industry has responded to this demand with more nutritious snack options for a healthy diet. Vending machines now stock gluten, trans-fat, vegan, dairy, and other nutritional products, providing customers with various healthy food options. This trend will continue to grow as customers adopt healthier eating habits.
Beyond health-focused products, vending machines are giving customers unique experiences through Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Imagine virtually trying out a product before you purchase it from a vending machine. With VR, vending machines are taking entertainment to a new level, enabling customers to be fully immersed in a new environment. In addition to entertainment, vending devices can provide helpful information through AI that can benefit users. For example, vending machines can recommend foods based on a user’s diet, interests, and more.
Enhanced payment options
Vending machines and the payment options they offer have become increasingly sophisticated. Vending machines are expected to accept virtual currencies like Bitcoin and mobile payment methods like Apple Pay and Venmo. This shift will likely expand beyond online payments to in-store payment methods such as those made with a credit or debit card.
Beyond payment options, vending machines are expected to utilize artificial intelligence to provide a personalized experience that caters to each customer. Currently, vending machines only suggest products based on a customer’s location, but soon they’ll be able to understand who you are and what you like! Vending machines can suggest food, drinks, and other products to customers based on what they typically purchase.
The vending industry is expected to move towards sustainable practices. These machines use sustainable materials and energy-efficient technologies to minimize their environmental footprint. Some eco-friendly vending machines are powered by renewable energy sources like solar power, making them completely carbon neutral. In addition to being good for the planet, eco-friendly vending machines can reduce your energy bills.
Another trend that is gaining popularity is the use of vending machines to dispense life-saving medications and other health-related commodities. This is especially beneficial for those who need medication but cannot always reach a pharmacy or seek medical help. Besides their life-saving capabilities, vending machines provide social services like blood pressure screenings and HIV testing.
Trends that can be life-changing
With new innovative technology and trends, vending machines are going beyond food and beverage product options to more compelling, purposeful devices. If you are a business owner, aspiring entrepreneur, vending machine operator, or customer, it’s essential to note and understand that these trends have game-changing potential.
At eVending.com, we are at the heart of these trends. Click here to contact us and discover how we can meet the unique requirements of your vending business.