Vending is experiencing a new boom right now. Consumers increasingly appreciate shopping that is independent of staff and not tied to opening hours. In brick-and-mortar retail, vending machines lend a 24/7 supply entirely without ecommerce.
Vending machines enable round-the-clock shopping.
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The chocolate museum in cologne is home to a historic exhibit: one of the first vending machines manufactured by stollwerck. "vending" (lat. Vendere selling) is the sale of goods and services through vending machines. As early as 1880, stollwerck started cooperating with a metalworking company, initially for packaging and signs. A meeting between stollwerck and the engineer max sielaff led to the pioneering development of the first vending machines for chocolate bars. As early as 1893, more than 15.000 vending machines active in germany and austria!
Even back then, consumers were very positive about the independence from store opening hours. Chocolate was new and fashionable, everyone wanted to enjoy it. Vending machines were exactly the right way to make this product widely available to consumers. In the next generation of vending machines, cigarettes and matches were sold, classic vending goods with an ad hoc need behind them.
Micro markets as a new supply concept for businesses
What was already possible approx. The vending trend that began 130 years ago is still a success story today and has experienced an enormous boost in the last few months – vending is "in"! It is obvious that the corona pandemic also had an influence here. According to the BDV, more than 80 percent of vending machines for beverages and food are located in businesses and serve as a snack for employees. The new home-office regulations and flexible working hours mean that canteens, as well as vending machines, are no longer working to capacity. The new trend of so-called "micro markets" aims to close this gap.
Micro markets are fully automated mini supermarkets that are available not only for snacks or lunch, but also for everyday goods. On a larger scale, this concept is taking shape in the form of autonomous container stores, such as z.B. The latebird container, its way into the city centers.
Vending expands stationary trade by 24/7 availability – without ecommerce at all
The important thing with both micro markets and container stores is that the autonomous concept functions fully with a minimum of technical infrastructure. The new "all-in-one" payment terminals form the centerpiece of the point-of-sale. With the help of the terminal software, both cashless payment, scanning of goods and the merchandise management system must run in the background.
However, stand-alone vending machines are also becoming increasingly popular. Demand for regional and sustainable products is high. In this segment, local farm stores as well as supermarkets and butchers like to rely on the advantage of vending machines, which provide fresh goods such as eggs, grilled meat, pasta or cheese outside of store opening hours.
Consumers’ work-life balance is being reorganized
Retail and vending are a good team and complement each other perfectly. Where opening hours and sometimes staff shortages restrict business in the retail sector, vending machines score points with 24/7 availability without having to rely on personnel.
Consumers’ work-life balance is being reorganized against the backdrop of corona and its impact: flexible working hours, mobile working and home offices mean that consumers are now demanding the same flexibility when it comes to shopping and day-to-day purchasing. Vending machines are the perfect complement, providing 24/7 availability for brick-and-mortar retailers without having to rely on online services.