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Will These 3 Trends Drastically Change Vending Machines?

Picture of a Fitness Vending Machine

As a company with a long history in fitness vending, we've taken interest in an article recently published by the FoodBev website. The article discusses three trends the author believes will shape the future of vending. If she's right, our vending machines could look quite different just a few years from now.

Note that the FoodBev article wasn't specific to fitness vending. Nonetheless, we thought it might be interesting to look at all three trends and try to figure out what they might mean for our business. Here's what we came up with:

1. Reverse Vending Machines

The first trend is that of reverse vending. As you probably know, the UK government is actively pursuing a reverse vending scheme that would seek to financially reward consumers for recycling plastics via vending machines. The technology for such machines is not new. It has been widely in use in other parts of the world for years. We just haven't adopted it here.

Now, some of our vending machines dispense products packaged in plastic. We can easily envision a scenario in which a reverse vending machine sits right next to our machine so that consumers can recycle the plastic on the spot. We can also imagine having the reverse vending technology built directly into our machines so that the same thing can be accomplished with a single unit.

2. Cashless Vending Machines

Next up is the growing trend of cashless vending. According to FoodBev, non-cash payments in Europe increased nearly 8% in 2017. They show no signs of slowing down. The FoodBev article suggests that this trend will eventually force vending companies to embrace cashless by way of mobile payments.

That prediction is entirely possible, but it doesn't seem likely that vending machines will stop taking cash. As long as there are bills and coins in circulation, it's not reasonable for vending companies to turn them away. Coins and bills are the foundation of the impulse sales vending relies on.

3. Automated Retail

This last trend is one with a supposed connection to vending that eludes us. It is the trend of automated retail that seeks to get rid of the tried-and-trusted cash register in favour of consumers paying wirelessly as they go. The concept was embraced by Amazon in 2018. They opened a test store that allowed customers to walk in, grab what they wanted off the shelf, and walk out. Checking out was handled with a smartphone app that more or less did everything online.

We can see how automated retail could become a thing. However, it seems to be a paradigm completely separate from the vending business. There wouldn't be any way to automatically dispense vending machines and still remain true to the vending model. Users still have to manually select what they want along with a payment method.

FoodBev makes a good case for two of the three trends. We'll have to see how things actually work out for the future.

Sources:

FoodBev – https://www.foodbev.com/news/three-key-trends-that-are-set-to-reshape-the-future-of-vending/