Vending machines seem to be on the rebound as companies are trying to find new and innovative ways to get their products into consumers faces as conveniently as possible. Over the last decade or so the DVD rental kiosks have come to the forefront (though Canada has been a little slow to pick up on them) and there’s also those vending machines that dispense higher priced gadgets like iPods. Back in November we showed you a butcher that was offering steaks and other choice cuts in vending machines at convenience stores. Now theres a bunch more coming to a store near you. Or maybe not so near you live in North America. Here’s what’s been in the news over the last couple months:
1. Japanese soft drink vending machine offers free WiFi.
If you’re within 50 meters of a machine you can log in to the machine’s WiFi connection and get 30 minutes of free connectivity. No need to purchase anything from the machine. When users log in to the machine they are taken to a splash page which contains advertising and information about local businesses and points of interest that are in the vicinity of the machine. The manufacturer is hoping that the machines can revitalize neighbourhoods and draw people in to help local businesses.
2. Jell-o Temptations sampling machine
This vending machine claims it has age recognition technology which will dispense a product sample only to adults. It’s an interesting move which creates a little buzz. Is it cheaper than hiring an experiential agency and having a bunch of university students handing out pudding in a mall? Probably not, but it’s still pretty neat.
3. Fresh baked baguettes
A bakery in France wanted to be able to sell it’s bread 24/7. They had a vending machine built and installed outside their store for customers to get freshly baked baguettes day or night. The baguettes are par-baked and loaded into the machine. When someone comes up to use the machine the baking process is finished and the consumer walks away with a piping hot loaf of bread.
4. Fresh fish here
Similar to the butchers, some fishmongers are trying to get a cut of the action. They buy the fish fresh at the market, bring it back to their store to be packaged, and load up the machine. Now you know where to get your sardine fix when stumbling home from the bar at 3am.
5. Swap your stuff for different stuff.
Swap-O-Matic is a vending machine for you to trade-in things you don’t need for something you might find useful. You start with 3 credits and can gain more credits by donating to the machine. You use credits by taking items from the machine. Seems pretty simple. The people behind this machine want people to be more conscious of what they are throwing away. You probably have some stuff hanging around your house that isn’t worth the hassle to put up on Craigslist or Kijiji but you don’t want to just toss it because there’s some value in it still. This is your chance to put those items back to good use in someone else’s hands.