The Magic of a Literary Vending Machine

As an educator, one encourages children to let their minds run wild and exercise their creative minds. And, being creative allowed the students and educators of Northeast Elementary School in Owasso, Oklahoma to think outside of the box when it comes to vending machines and rewards systems. 

Amanda Sordo, the school’s librarian, saw an idea from a neighboring school in which books are used in vending machines, as opposed to snacks.  The idea behind this vending machine was to provide a reward for students who have done an act of kindness for another student within the school. Sordo says, “This vending machine gives kids an opportunity to recognize other kids for the goodness they see in them. Kids write notes, which are put in a box, and then I am drawing ten names a day to give kids free books.” 

From there, students receive tokens to vend a book from the vending machine. This way, kids can build their at-home library by simply performing a good deed. 

The book vending machine builds excitement for the kids when it comes to reading, but it does so much more than that. Sordo goes on to say, “These kids are reading the good things that people see in them. It’s building morale, lowering bullying and it’s getting kids to read books. It’s an all-around good thing.”

When it came to the exterior design of the vending machine, one thing was for certain. It had to be customizable to include artwork that was provided by the kids themselves. “It was really important for the kids to have a big part in the design process,” Sordo says. “None of the other schools are even thinking to use the kids’ artwork like that. It turned out a lot better than I expected.” 

The students played a huge role in the book vending machine. A fundraiser was held in which they received more than enough to purchase the vending machine. Additionally, the students of Northeast Elementary School submitted artwork in the schoolwide contest. This artwork was then taken to social media, where people could vote for the top three designs. 

The word of the book vending machine quickly spread across Oklahoma by way of social media, local news outlets and various email communications. This has led to other schools in the area considering installing a book vending machine. If anyone is looking for advice on how to go about installing a book vending machine, Sordo offers a couple of tips. One is to be aware that one of the most challenging aspects of the machine is stocking it with books that will appeal to a wide range of students, including picture books and chapter books. The other piece of advice Sordo offers is to hold a fundraiser in order to involve the students. 

When asked about the process of working with Vending.com, Sordo says it was easy and accommodating. All of the questions were answered quickly and Vending.com worked quickly. The process to add the artwork to the machine was also a simple task. When setting up the machine, we ran into a few issues. I worked with Vendnet, Vending.com’s service group, to get it set up. They were very helpful and made the process easier.

Thinking outside the box when it comes to rewarding students for their good deeds is so important. Amanda Sordo and the staff at Northeast Elementary School were able to accomplish just that. With the help of Vending.com, they are able to provide students with books, while building character.

Vending.com can help you think outside of the box when it comes to vending a variety of needs. For questions, contact Todd Carber at (515) 271-8384 or tcarber@vending.com.

Your Goals for 2021

A new year is officially upon us. If you have not yet, it is time to make goals for your vending business in 2021. These goals should include focusing on what your customers are craving, both in technology and snacks. Let’s discover what your keys to success look like in 2021.

It cannot be stated enough. Cashless vending is something you cannot afford to skip. Cashless payments, such as through Greenlite or PayRange, not only benefit the customer, but they benefit you as well. Cashless payments mean quicker transactions for you and an increase in same-machine sales. By not providing cashless payment options, you are losing sales and possible customers.

Another trend in 2021 that is predicted to increase is more product transparency. This includes more than simply nutrition information. This is storytelling features on the products you are providing. For example, Vending MarketWatch recently produced an article in which brands are using barcodes or a QR code to give background information about where the product came from. Customers may be more drawn to these products if they are included in your vending machine.

Many people saw an increase in their anxiety, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To help put people at ease in 2021, consider offering products that prioritize immune health. Snacks and drinks that cater to these needs include dark chocolate, orange juice, yogurt and nuts. Put customers at ease with what you provide through vending. The best part? All of these products can be featured through a variety of Vending.com machines, such as the Express Combo Vending Machine, the MarketOne Snack 6W Vending Machine and the MarketOne 5W Cold Food Elevator Vending Machine.

Vending.com is here to help steer you in the right direction in 2021. For more questions about our vending equipment and services, call us at 1-800-548-1982.

Give Customers Access to the Most Important Meal

To-go breakfast options have become increasingly popular over the past year. According to a recent study done by Tastewise, breakfast is up 13% from 2019 among consumers. Additionally, to-go breakfasts are up 154% from 2019. If you are not capitalizing on these trends, your customers may be going elsewhere to get their fill.

Provide customers with a variety of their favorite breakfast meals, such as oatmeal, cereal, granola bars and iced coffee through the Express Combo Vending Machine or the MarketOne Combo Vending Machines. These options are perfect for a quick and easy on-the-go breakfast when customers do not have time to sit and eat a full breakfast in the morning.

Through frozen vending machines, allow your customers to purchase more substantial breakfast items, such as frozen, protein-packed breakfast bowls and microwavable breakfast meals. These items can be accessed by customers through a number of frozen vending machines from Vending.com. Your customers will appreciate the variety of available breakfast options with frozen vending machines.

Finally, can your morning really be complete without a hot cup of coffee or tea? The Coffee Vending Machine gives customers their morning fix with a hot cup of coffee, cappuccino, lattes, tea and more. If you only have room for a Keurig coffee machine in your office, the Cafecture Controlled Coffee Pod Merchandiser may be a more suitable option for you. 

If you are not providing customers with the to-go breakfast options they crave, you may be missing out on a number of sales. To find out more about breakfast options and vending machines, contact us at 1-800-548-1982.

The 2020 Section 179 Tax Deduction

Did you know that with the Section 179 tax deduction you can deduct the full price of new vending equipment?  This great incentive for business owners expires at the end of 2020.  To find out more about how the Section 179 tax deduction works and how you can qualify, check out the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jf_I9Xtc71U&t=8s 

Take advantage of Section 179 today by calling Vending.com at 1-800-548-1982.

About Vending.com

Vending.com brings together a multitude of vending expertise through our circle of services. Everything you need to start, grow, or manage your vending business is provided through our easy online access. We provide vending services, financing, vending industry news, technical repair, parts and much more. Vending.com is one of the companies under the Wittern Group umbrella. Whether you are an entrepreneur starting your own vending machine business or expanding your current business, Vending.com offers you a full range of vending machines, financing, location assistance and other services to meet all of your vending needs. As a full-line vending sales company we provide customers nationwide with the right equipment for their client’s location. Our large selection of snack, soda machines, hot beverage, cold and frozen food and other quality vending machines can be configured and customized to fit any size location from small businesses to large factories. Let our network of vending machine companies go to work for you.

89 Years of Vending Experience

Our parent company, The Wittern Group, recently celebrated 89 years in the vending industry. Through this time, we have served customers far and wide and manufactured a countless number of vending machines. We are proud of the progress and innovations we have made thus far, but are anxious to see how our company will grow in the next 89 years. 

As a manufacturing company, we design and engineer products to last many years. Our machines are easy to maintain and have a high level of durability that is backed by an extensive quality control process. We want our customers and our products to be successful and competitive in the vending industry. 

At Vending.com, we provide a number of snack, drink and retail vending equipment to help your business grow. These machines include our Express Combo Vending Machine, MarketOne Snack Vending Machines and Sani-Center PPE Vending Machine. Each machine is manufactured with the customer and operator in mind in order to create a long-lasting presence in the vending industry. Additionally, our vending machines are easy to operate and easy for your customers to use.

Our vending equipment is proudly manufactured in Clive, Iowa in the United States. We offer an extensive line of the finest qualify and competitively priced vending machines created with American ideals, including entrepreneurship and innovation. We are proud of the line of work and quality of equipment when manufacture.

Vending.com and The Wittern Group have accomplished a lot in the past 89 years and we do not plan on slowing down anytime soon. To find out more about Vending.com and our quality machines, call us at 1-800-548-1982.

Healthy Vending for Your Customers

No matter where your vending equipment is placed, it is essential that you keep your customers, satisfied and healthy. Thanks to the National Automatic Merchandising Association’s (NAMA) commitment to a healthier lifestyle, vending machines nationwide will be increasing their healthy food options from 24% to 33% over the next three years. 

In order for a snack to be considered “healthy,” they must abide by the following standards per serving: 

  • No more than 200 calories
  • No more than 240 milligrams of sodium
  • No more than 1 gram of saturated fat
  • No more than 0 grams of trans fat

To ensure you are providing customers with the absolute best snacks to keep them healthy, we have compiled a list to help get you started.

Popcorn

As a natural, whole grain food, popcorn is a great, healthy snack that your customers will love. It contains fiber, magnesium and iron, just to name a few nutrients. Having a high-fiber diet can lead to weight loss, increased heart health and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. In order for your customers to fully take advantage of these health benefits, it is best to provide them with plain popcorn that is free of any chemicals. 

Granola Bars

Granola bars are a healthy and delicious snack that is filled with protein, fiber and micronutrients to keep your customers fueled throughout the day. Granola bars reduce the risk of overeating, as they come in pre-portioned packages. Additionally, they have been found to reduce cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease. In order to ensure you are providing healthy products, find granola bars that are less than 250 calories, and have less than 10 grams of sugar.

Plant-Based Protein

Protein is an essential part of one’s diet. Protein is used to build and repair tissues. It is also the building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. In order to give your customers, especially your vegetarian and vegan customers, the protein they need, consider adding plant-based protein into your machines. Some examples of this include Greek yogurt, almonds and peanut butter.

All of these products can be provided within our wide range of snack machines, including our MarketOne Vending Machines. Our fully adjustable trays allow you to provide small snacks, such as granola bars, or bulky snacks, such as Greek yogurt. Plus, with a 10.1” touchscreen display, your customers can have immediate access to nutritional facts, prior to purchasing snacks.

Healthy eating does not have to be boring. Change up the products you supply your customers with delicious and healthy products to promote a healthier lifestyle. For more information, give us a call at 1-800-548-1982.

Keep Your Employees Satisfied When Your Workplace Reopens

With many Americans returning from work after months of working from home, it is necessary that you keep your employees focused while working in the office. One way of doing this is by providing them with the necessary snacks they need to keep productivity up and keep your employees from leaving the office in search of a snack.

According to Vending MarketWatch, American snack food consumption increased by 8% during the COVID-19 pandemic. People are turning to snacking on their favorite foods to help cope with stress due to financial and health concerns. Additionally, 37% of consumers wanted to make sure that they had sufficient snacks on hand while following stay-at-home orders. 

What do these numbers mean for your employees? While more employees are returning from work, it is crucial you keep them full and focused in order for productivity to remain high. Giving your employees the snacks they crave through a snack machine, such as the MarketOne Snack Machines, will be important. 

Many snack companies, such as Mondele?z International, Frito-Lay and PepsiCo found snack sales increase during the height of stay-at-home orders. Having sweet snacks in your vending machines, such as cookies and chocolate, could help satisfy your employees when they start to crave a snack.

Providing healthy, protein-packed snacks is also important in order to keep your employees more full for a longer period of time. For example, Jack Link’s® has a variety of high-protein snacks and meal replacement for employees to enjoy on the go and during the workday. It is also the perfect option for those employees who crave a salty option, as opposed to a sweet option.

Having a reliable vending machine to dispense these products will be crucial to your employees. MarketOne Snack Machines give your employees maximum product selections. Through its large merchandising window and enhanced LED lighting, products are displayed to their fullest ability. Additionally, it is ADA compliant and features an ergonomic interface, making it easy for your employees to use.

As employees begin returning to the workplace, welcome them back with the snacks they grew to love during the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep them full and focused in order to keep productivity high. For additional information, please call Vending.com at 1-800-548-1982.

Simplifying Payment Options for Your Customers

Due to the national coin shortage and vending customers looking to pay for products through a mobile wallet or credit card, many vending businesses must look for other ways to accept payments on their machines. One way to do this is by utilizing PayRange, a leading mobile payment app. This fast and secure app allows customers to purchase products, without carrying around cash or coins.

PayRange, which is a standard feature on our MarketOne vending machines, is a simple app that makes it easy for users to purchase products from your vending machine. Users simply download the app and load money onto the app from a major credit or debit card or Apple Pay, Google Pay or Masterpass. From there, users swipe up to purchase the product or products they desire.

Using PayRange benefits more than just the machine’s customers. It also benefits the machine’s operator. PayRange allows operators to utilize coupons and special promotions to customers, such as the first product free or loyalty points. Operators can build a marketing plan for their business that leads to increased spend by customers. 

As with many payment options, vending operators must have the proper equipment in order to utilize PayRange. This also means creating an account to ensure that they are receiving the money they deserve. PayRange is not free to use, but it does make it easy to help increase sales on your vending equipment and reduces direct contact between your customers and your machine.

Aside from it being a convenience for your customers, providing cashless payment options are a huge benefit to you. Many vending operators have seen an increase as high as 35% on their vending equipment, after adding a cashless option for their machine. Additionally, operators have seen a decrease in operating costs, since many cashless options have reporting features available. By foregoing a cashless option, you are not only doing a disservice to your customers, but to your vending business as well.

PayRange is a simple-to-use app that helps increase revenue on your vending equipment while being easy for your customers to use. To find out more about cashless payment options on your vending equipment, give us a call at 1-800-548-1982 or fill out our contact form.

Breaking Down the State of the Industry Report and What it Means for You

Every year, Vending MarketWatch publishes its State of the Industry Report, which breaks down vending locations, sales and more from the previous year. We are going to break down the 2019 report in order for you to get a better understanding of how your vending business can continue to grow.

Locations

Just because vending machines can be placed anywhere, does not mean they should be placed anywhere. According to surveys conducted by Automatic Merchandiser, the most popular locations to place a vending machine are manufacturing facilities and offices, with 22.1% of vending machines placed at each location. Correctional facilities are the least popular places to place vending machines, with just 2.4% of vending machines being placed there, which is an increase from the previous year. 

What does this information mean for you? This report shows that while offices and manufacturing facilities are still very popular for vending, there may be a lot of potential in less popular locations, such as correctional facilities and military bases. If you are a business owner looking to add a vending machine to your location, contact us to see if your location could support vending equipment.

Cold Beverage

To no surprise, cold beverages still remain at the top of vending industry sales. In 2019, cold beverages made up 22.8% of sales, which is a significant decrease from the previous year. To help support your vending business and sales, Vending.com offers a variety of cold beverage vending machines, which provides your customers with the cold beverages they crave.

A surprise in this year’s report shows that cold beverages do not stand alone at the top of the sales chart. A new category has gained a lot of ground over the past year and shows no signs of slowing down.

Opportunities for Growth – Retail 

Shooting to the top of the product sales category with cold beverages in 2019 was the other category, which includes non-edible items. This category grew from 7.7% to 22.8%. This shows that operators are looking to diversify their vending businesses. 

If you are looking on capitalizing in the retail vending industry, especially amidst COVID-19, check out our Sani-Center PPE Vending Machine. These machines are created to provide customers with masks, sanitizers and more in order to keep you safe.

The vending industry is constantly changing and evolving. To access the full industry report, read the State of the Industry Report here. If you have any questions about how you can grow in the vending industry, give us a call at 1-800-548-1982.

The Future of Vending

There are a lot of unknowns occurring in the world right now. Some industries and businesses are thriving, while many, unfortunately, are struggling. While the vending industry is facing some challenges during this time, this is also an opportunity to reflect on how the vending industry and your business and grow and thrive. So, what exactly does the future of vending look like? Keep reading to find out.

Touch Screen Capabilities

We understand that not all vending machines have the capability to have a touchscreen device on them. If they can, however, your customers will appreciate the fact that they are safe and easy-to-use. Having a touchscreen also ensures your customers do not necessarily have to directly touch your vending machine. For instance, your customers can use a stylus to purchase the products they are craving. This ensures your customers will have very little contact with your machine.

Cashless Payments

The growth of COVID-19 has led to the growth of digital payments. While the chances of COVID-19 being passed between currencies is very low, many people have grown weary of paying with cash or coins. This shift does not bode well for vending businesses who only accept cash and coin payments.

By not accepting cashless payments, not only are you not catering to your customers’ needs during this time, but you are also losing out on sales. By integrating a cashless card reader into your business, such as Greenlite, you are putting yourself in the position to increase sales, while giving your customers what they need. Greenlite accepts cashless payments including debit cards, credit cards and mobile wallets, such as Google Pay and Apple Pay.

Provide Your Customers with the Necessities

More than likely, customers are not going to stop craving a candy bar or something to drink. However, many customers, stores, offices and health care facilities are needing products outside of just candy and beverages. Give your customers access to not just the products they want, but the products they need with a PPE Vending Machine. Fill this machine with hand sanitizers, face masks and cleaning wipes to keep your customers and your facility safe.

Things are constantly changing. As a vending business, it is your job to change with it. For more information about touch screen capabilities, Greenlite or PPE vending, contact Vending.com at 1-800-548-1982.