Most companies face fierce competition in their industry, which is why brand identity is so important. A strong, recognizable brand helps provide a positive perception of your company among consumers. This perception becomes increasingly difficult to achieve for companies that have multiple locations, where maintaining consistency is paramount and crucial to achieving success. You want people to walk into any store or property and immediately know what to expect, which should be an experience that only your company can provide. Everything from colors, to signage, to how employees communicate need to be aligned among all locations to achieve these branding goals. But what about vending machines?
If your stores or properties rely on vending services, should they be incorporated into your branding efforts?
If done well, it's not a bad idea. Some companies have been successful with the use of custom-branded vending machines...but for a specific purpose.
How Some Brands are Using Vending Machines
Custom-branded vending equipment works well when you're trying to sell products or services of your own through the machines in places where a physical store is not feasible. For example:
Snap Chat used vending machines to sell glasses that come equiped with a built-in wireless camera.
Lululemon set up vending machines at 'run stops' in New York and Chicago that sold items for runners, and used the opportunity to capture data on their ideal customers.
Carvana created a car vending machine.
In each instance, the vending machines were leveraged to sell their own products, and it's working out for them. But if you're considering the use of custom vending machines that just sell the usual Coca-Cola or Pepsi drinks, here are three reasons you may want to reconsider.
3 Reasons Custom-Branded Vending Machines are a Bad Idea
1. More Headaches For Managers
Incorporating vending machines into your brand identity heightens the responsibility of store managers to deal with service issues.
If your branding is all over the machines, customers automatically assume it's your company's responsibility to solve their problem. There's no buffer between the vending machine and your business as there would be if it was, say, a Coca-Cola machine. Moreover, a bad experience with a vending machine with your branding on it can create a negative association with your brand.
2. Loss of Revenue
Economics plays a key role in a nationwide vending program. Switching to custom-branded equipment will decrease sales as the machines won't stand out as much as those provided by companies like Coca-Cola or Pepsi. Those brands are instantly recognizable to people, thanks to the millions of dollars spent on their own brand identities.
Last but not least is cost. It's expensive to pay to have vending machines at your locations sport your brand all over them. Not to mention the amount of time it takes to coordinate such an effort. Unless your company sells snacks and beverages, the decision to incorporate vending machines into your in-store branding should not be made in haste.