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Why Vending Machines Should Switch to Electronic Shelf Label

Retailers will need solutions for vending machines to achieve maximum efficiency. Know why digital labels are better for labeling vending machines.

Operating vending machines is a great way to earn passive income. It has a simple business model, is easily scalable, and is profitable. It’s no surprise that retailers also see the many advantages it brings. However, operating a vending machine comes with its own problems as well. Retailers need to be smart in every move. They need to find and implement solutions, such as SOLUM Electronic Shelf Labels (ESL), for efficient vending machine operations.

Vending machines among retailers

Though it doesn’t seem like it, vending machines have become essential in people’s lives. When people travel, when they’re at the office and workplaces, when they’re at the park or other public places, they look for vending machines. 


Retailers, of course, have taken full advantage of vending machines. In fact, the global market for vending machines is projected to grow at a CAGR of 10.7% between 2022 and 2030—proof that it is a lucrative industry both for those who make the machines and those who use them in their business establishments. Whether it is to maximize profitability, attract more customers, or boost the aesthetic of the place, vending machines have become a worthy addition. 


Here are a few retail establishments where vending machines are used.


Convenience stores

Vending machines are popular among convenience stores. This is because a lot of people go to convenience stores for a quick break, travel stops, errands, small emergencies, and more. Vending machines are a great way to catch the attention of customers or even lure them into making impulse purchases. Either way, vending machines in convenience stores provide a quick and affordable meal or snack before resuming their travel or their errand for the day.


Gas stations

Gas stations also provide vending machines for patrons. Usually, gas stations have their own small convenience store to cater to more customers. Additional vending machines in these gas stations also help attract more customers and provide them with more options. Truckers, drivers, passengers, and more can fuel up their vehicles, while also energizing with a few snacks and drinks.


Car dealerships

In 2018, there was a study that revealed average car buyers spend more than three hours completing a deal at the average car dealership. This makes it clear why vending machines can also be found in a number of car dealerships. Vending machines offer customers some sort of respite as they browse for cars, talk to sales representatives, and more. They also help make wait times more manageable for a lot of car buyers. Meanwhile, car technicians and service staff also turn to vending machines for their breaks.


Malls and shopping centers

Vending machines can be found in malls and shopping centers as well. These retail establishments will always have a lot of people, especially on the weekends. Whether people are shopping, browsing, spending time with family or friends, or just killing some time, foot traffic can be expected. And the more traffic there is, the more beneficial vending machines are for small retailers and the shopping center. People will be able to get drinks or food while they take a break from shopping.


Dining halls or food courts

A few dining halls and food courts also boast vending machines for patrons. These machines give diners and visitors a few more options when they come to eat or rest. They can get a refreshing drink, hot or cold coffee, or even small food items that will help nourish them. They will also have the chance to get some desserts after they finish their meal. Or get a few snacks to fill them up for the rest of their travel or commute home.

Common problems retailers encounter when operating vending machines

Operating vending machines may seem easy, and it is a good way to earn a profit. However, operating and maintaining one requires a little more effort. More often than not, retailers who have vending machines will also come across problems that will get in the way of operations and affect a day’s profit.

Here are some of the common problems retailers face when operating vending machines.


The machine is out of stock

Out-of-stock issues can send both loyal and new customers the other way. This means a loss of profit for operators. This is why regular maintenance, inventory, and stocking are necessary when operating a vending machine. These tasks are demanding, but essential when trying to cater to customers and keep up with demand. Retailers need to manage their time or their staff better to make sure that vending machines are always stocked and operational.


Jammed products

Products getting jammed inside the vending machine is frustrating. This is not only an initial problem for the customers, but it also poses a long-term issue for the operators or retailers. This can lead to vending machine repairs (which can take up time and money, and interrupt operations) or a frustrated customer (which can lead to reduced brand loyalty).


The vending door gets stuck

Much like jammed products, no one likes it when the vending machine door is stuck. Unfortunately, this problem is something to be expected with all vending machines. The longer the vending machine operates, the more it’s going to wear out. Access panels can rust or dent, doors can get stuck, and more. Operators would need to replace the vending door with a brand new one, or constantly check and clean it.


Payment and change issues

Payment and change issues are also common when operating a vending machine. Sometimes dollar bills will get stuck in the cash box or won’t be accepted. Other customers will also have a problem with inaccurate coin changes. These kinds of issues will drive customers away from patronizing specific vending machines, and will probably hurt retailers and their businesses.


Changing price tags

Price changes or updates can be a time-consuming task for a lot of retailers. Price updates for vending machine products are even more so. This is because they still have to open up the display panel or door, collect all the paper price tags, replace them with new price tags, make sure they match the right products, and do it all over again to the other vending machines in the area. Even manually programming prices in vending machines with LCD price displays could take a lot of time. Inconvenient price updates can take away from the daily operations or other priorities around the store.

Why vending machines should switch to ESL

To solve one of retailers’ main and most common problems with vending machines, the use of ESL is crucial. ESL, or electronic shelf labels, are the modern solution to paper price tags. These digital labels can replace traditional labels and give retailers a much more innovative and efficient replacement.


SOLUM ESL knows all about the importance of retail innovation, and their solutions can also impact the vending industry. For instance, SOLUM’s Newton LITE is a good ESL starting point for vending machines. These electronic shelf labels are compact in size but are still powerful and practical. They’re also lightweight and slim instead of heavy and bulky. Newton LITE is also good for all kinds of vending machines, as their batteries work in environments with temperatures between 0-40 ℃.


ESL can help guide retailers toward success with their vending machines. 


Here are the reasons why vending machines need to switch to ESL.


It saves time and effort

Electronic shelf labels can save retailers time and effort on their hands. This is because, with ESL, retailers don’t need to manually collect and change price tags. They only need to set the price using software, and all digital tags will immediately be updated. There’s no need for daily maintenance price updates, no need to remove display panels, and no need to double-check every tag and product inside the vending machine. Using ESL makes a lot of things easier and faster.


It’s a good investment

ESL is a good investment for retailers. It can be a little expensive compared to traditional paper tags. However, the return on investment, as well as the time and manual labor that they reduce for retailers are too significant to ignore. Electronic shelf labels can save you money in the long run. And of course, it can improve your operations and profits.


It’s sustainable

Using ESL in vending machines is also a sustainable choice. This is because retailers have the chance to reduce their carbon footprint with electronic labels. Using paper tags in every price update contributes to 25% of global emissions from retailers. Digital labels like Newton LITE, on the other hand, use Full Graphic E-ink Display technology to display prices and product information. This can help retailers be more eco-friendly, one step at a time.


It shows accurate information no matter the time

ESL can be trusted to show accurate prices, no matter the time of day. Since price updates are easier and faster, vending machine customers don’t have to worry about inaccurate prices. Retailers themselves also don’t have to worry about having to check their vending machines multiple times a day.


Apart from the price, a few product information can also be added to the digital label. This contributes to the overall experience of the customer. Accurate and detailed digital labels on the vending machine will gain people’s trust and loyalty.


It helps with inventory

Using ESL in vending machines also makes inventory much more efficient. This is because retailers can easily take stock and inventory of vending machine products with electronic shelf labels in place. Digital labels such as the Newton LITE also have a 7-color LED light, which can be used to communicate specific instructions or warnings. This includes low-stock warnings, out-of-stock warnings, request or call service, and more. This improves vending machine inventory and streamlines daily operations.

The vending industry can take full advantage of ESL if retailers just know how. Contact SOLUM ESL today and find out how you can implement them on your vending machines.

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