Although the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn — not to mention governmental social distancing guidelines — has changed the nature of the vending machine industry somewhat, the business remains attractive to entrepreneurs for one simple reason: it’s profitable! And it turns out that vending machines are still doing good business even given the current restrictions. Placing your machines effectively, however, is a little different than it was a few months ago.
Let’s take a look at the best strategies for placing your machines in a post-COVID world.
It’s All About Traffic
One golden rule of vending machine operation hasn’t changed: foot traffic is the name of the game. It’s just that where foot traffic is found might be a bit different now. The basic idea is still the same because you need to find areas where a large number of people walk by on a daily basis. Those individuals may make an impulse buy if they see something that catches their eye, or they might get into a habit of purchasing from a vending machine regularly, perhaps on their lunch break or on their way into work or school.
But where is foot traffic found now? Places like schools, office buildings, and gyms are likely to be dead zones now that social distancing measures and government lockdowns prevent people from gathering in large groups. But that doesn’t mean that everywhere is a bust. Foot traffic is still high in other places, like apartment complexes (people still need to live somewhere, after all), industrial parks and factories, hotels, public parks, etc. It just might take a little out-of-the-box thinking and extra research to find those areas where foot traffic is still high.
Consider the Competition
Something else that hasn’t changed when it comes to placing your vending machines is the fact that it’s important to evaluate the competition. While it’s always profitable and ideal to be the first vending operator to secure a location, thereby capitalizing on that foot traffic before anyone else does, you can also place your machines in areas where other operators’ machines already exist. You just have to offer something that they don’t. That “something” might be a more varied selection, healthy vending options, easier payment methods, lower prices… there are many ways to set yourself apart.
Think About Essential Businesses
Remember that many places of work are still operating as normal, simply because they have to for the benefit of everyone. These essential businesses include places like hospitals, doctor’s offices, and supermarkets — the essential workers staffing these establishments need your vending products now more than ever.
Want Help With Placement?
If finding great vending machine locations in a post-COVID world sounds like a daunting task, don’t worry. We’re here to help. Naturals2Go can help you place your machines in the most profitable locations and get started on your path to vending machine success.