A vending machine is a coin-operated electronic machine which dispenses consumer items such as snacks, coffee, tea, alcohol, beverages, cigarettes, lottery tickets, and even valuables like gold jewels and gems automatically to customers without any human vendor presence.
The customer has to insert currency in the form of coins or credit card into the machine, and then select their choice of items.
Vending machines form the core of automatic retailing and are found everywhere in the world now from public buildings, gas stations, hospitals, schools, and any kind of place that people gather or pass by. The automatic operation and ease of purchase makes them a convenient and time-saving choice for public.
A brief history of the vending machine
Vending machine invention is historically credited to Greek Mathematician Hero of Alexandria during 215 BC, who invented an automatic machine to vends holy water at Egyptian pilgrim spots. In Europe, commercial vending machines arrived around 1880s, when post cards and books were sold using these coin operated machines. In United States, Thomas Adams Gum Company installed vending machines in late 1880s on subway platforms to sell Tutti-fruiti gum. Early in 1900s vending machines started offering other items including cigars, postcards and even a complete restaurant at Philadelphia. Later in 1920s soda dispensers into cups and cigarette vending machines came into existence. Now, you have vending machines that sell electronic items like iPods and digital cameras too.
More vending machines than you can imagine!
There are very odd Vending ideas found around the world like the machine that makes French fries, Ramen Instant Noodle vending machines, Rice vending machines in Japan, Buddhist prayer beads vending machine at Japan, and coin-operated binoculars in tourist locations. Vending machines have become part of people’s life and there are much more newer ideas and concepts coming every day in it.
Different vending machine types spotted in the urban jungle
As with any other technology, people continue to seek more convenience with vending machines and different types of vending for various purposes are made now. According to the usage, demand and the type of implementation of the vending machines, they can be classified as follows:
1. Cold and Frozen Vending Machines – mostly for ice cream, pies and other frozen foods
2. Bulk Vending Machines and Stands – for candies, chocolates and gum balls
3. Coffee and Tea Vending Machines – hot beverages poured into a cup
4. Office Supplies – pen, pencil or even USB Flash drive
5. Drink and Snack dispensers – packaged food and snacks
6. Entertainment Vending Machines – DVD renting
7. Pay Phones and public telephones
8. Currency Change Machines – coin exchange
9. Crane Machines or Teddy Pickers – timer based fun machine
10. Cosmetics, Hygiene and Medical Vending machines – soaps, toothbrush, tonics, thermometer
11. Ticket vending machine – in public transport areas and sports stadiums
12. Combined Vending machines – that have two different types of dispensers
Combo vending machines, faster and more convenient
Combination Vending Machines are a new method to get a snack and soda combo. Though they take slightly more space, they are very useful for people who want to pick up a combo of snack and drink at the same place at once. Busy people like to grab and leave as fast as possible when they are on the go. The right combination of snacks and soda stocked in these machines help to maximize the vending potential using just one machine and attracts a lot of repeat customers.