Rethinking Vending Standards
"Cleaned, Filled, and Working" is No Longer Enough
In vending, the tried-and-true mantra that measured the success of a machine has long been “cleaned, filled, and working.” But in a time of customer empowerment wherein 73% of customers will stop doing business with a brand after three or fewer experiences, vending operators will be forced to reevaluate what makes a good experience at their machine. As consumers continue to rely on and seek out self-service experiences, customer engagement and attraction will prove to be essential elements of a vending business.
Crane Media Network, CPI’s out-of-home digital advertising network, is comprised of more than 40k MEDIA vending machine screens nationwide and enables operators to earn additional revenue through opt-in use of their screened devices to display 3rd party advertisements. While the network works as a powerful tool for consumer brands looking to extend their out-of-home advertising presence, the Crane MEDIA platform gives operators engaging content that allows them to move products, influence user behavior, and, most importantly, win new business.
IntelFoods, a long-time customer of CPI, has been earning additional revenue participating in Medianet for over 8 years. Based out of New York City, IntelFoods runs almost 400 machines across high-traffic locations, such as residential buildings, college campuses, and stadiums. Stan Rubinov, COO of IntelFoods, is a longtime advocate of CPI’s MEDIA2 platform, and the extended engagement it provides with Medianet. Rubinov gave details on how Medianet not only helps him engage customers, but also grow his business.
Raising the Bar on Revenue Potential
How MEDIA2 Delivers More
The MEDIA2 platform, with its dynamic content, has provided a unique way to directly engage consumers for years. Following a year where customers are actively seeking alternatives to traditional retail stores, this level of dynamic engagement is more critical than ever.
According to Rubinov, engaging customers provides operators with advantages that surpass the financial benefit. Rubinov knows that in the low-margin vending industry it's crucial to look for additional revenue opportunities. In most cases, though, the digital media aspect is key to getting through the door with new end-location customers. “The intangible part,” Rubinov says, “is that you have certain content on the screen that attracts people…it’s the appeal of content on the machine itself, the advertisement functionality” that gets people up in front of the machine. According to Rubinov, not only does digital media attract customers purchasing from the machine, but it also attracts locations looking for modern ways to add value for their customers, residents, and employees.
The operators are not the only ones benefitting from Medianet’s services. End users enjoy the variety of displays that are presented on the screens as well. In a year where digital engagement skyrocketed, Medianet survey found that 78% of the respondents stated that they interact with QR Codes when they encounter them—whether they need to or not. Media interaction is quickly advancing from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’.
Rubinov further elaborated on this point, saying that in the past year where self-service options were utilized more than ever, IntelFoods’ Medianet machines consistently outperformed their non-media machines. According to a study done by a national developer, there was a “definite uptick” in traffic at the Medianet machines in comparison to the standard vending machines.
Why Digital Media Will Drive the Future of Customer Engagement
Rubinov believes machines offering media and digital engagement will be a staple in vending services soon, just as cashless components are now. As Rubinov reflected, operators were once skeptical of the need to install cashless components to their machines. Now? It's unlikely to see a machine without a full suite of cashless acceptance. “A lot of people are hesitant to commit to the cost and change… in the future [MEDIA machines] will be a given,” says Rubinov.
As operators look to invest in technology, they should remember to look beyond connectivity and payment. They should look back to the heart of vending: the machine itself. When it comes to engaging consumers, the machine, the first touchpoint, is more important than ever.