Convenience World – Issue 5, 2014 – Thinking Inside The Box

thinking-inside-the-boxWith a diverse product range available, vending machines offer provision of products at arm’s length. The answer to attracting customers to your store could be a matter of looking inside the box.

Vending machines now extend far beyond the traditional chips and drinks offer, with recent times seeing an increase in not only the types of machines, but product diversity, with everything from fresh bananas, mobile phone accessories and fresh pizzas available through a machine. “As with everything, trends are driven by consumer demands, which are increasingly demanding convenient risk-free shopping, while expecting quality of product,” Julian Yates of mobilecentral24/7 said. Having only a small footprint in-store, vending machines  can also optimise shelf space.

However, the offer needs to be carefully considered so that it will complement and not cannibalise the current store offer. When considering introducing a vending machine, it is recommended that retailers consider the demographics of the area, consumer traffic volumes, accessibility to the machine, the exposure it would receive and possible competition for sale of products provided.

An example of an innovative vending solution, mobilecentral24/7 is Australia’s first accessories vending machine to provide access to mobile phone/device accessories on the go and around the clock.

Available at airports, convenience stores, hospitals and other locations, primarily in south-east Queensland, mobilecentral24/7 machines offer a variety of accessories, including chargers (AC, DC or USB), power banks and earphones, waterproof cases and 3.5mm audio splitter cables for the latest handsets, including Apple, Samsung, Motorola, Blackberry, Sony, Telstra and Nokia. “mobilecentral24/7 provides products which, at the leading edge of current technology and sales, provide confidence that we are meeting consumer needs,” Mr Yates said.

“A case in point is our NoiseHush Stereo Headphones and our power banks, which have proven extremely popular with the travelling consumer. “mobilecentral24/7 is always seeking initiatives and within the high-tech and volatile industry of mobile phones/devices, it is imperative that we remain ahead of the latest trends/products to ensure consumer acceptance and resulting patronage.” mobilecentral24/7 is continuing to work to change the consumer perception that products sold via vending machines are inferior.

Mr Yates said in the case of mobilecentral24/7 products, the opposite is true. “All Apple-compatible earphones/cables/charger products available through mobilecentral24/7 are MFI [Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad] certified and, as a result, customers can be confident when purchasing these products, of their quality and that they meet Apple’s strict manufacturing standards,” he said.

mobilecentral24/7 is willing to consider a number of options for retailers that wish to host a machine: dependent on factors such as the number of machines sought, willingness to maintain them and whether it is an outright purchase or leasing agreement. “mobilecentral24/7 encourages host retailers to promote and advertise the machine as an additional service being provided by them for the convenience of their customers and see it as an opportunity to have customers who utilise the machine to then visit the shop for added-value purchases,” Mr Yates said.

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