Vending Psychology: Why People Use Vending Machines

Vending machines have been around for a long time, so there must be some good reasons for this. The fact is, this is one of the most convenient ways to sell products to people. A vending machine is like a mechanical store on your premises that doesn’t require any cashiers or stock clerks.

The beauty of vending machines is that they can be used to sell almost anything. For this reason, they can be profitable in almost any type of business environment. Most commonly, however, they are used to sell snacks and beverages. What is it that makes people want to use vending machines?

The Power of Impulse Buying

Almost all vending machine purchases are made on impulse. Most people don’t put “buy a candy bar from the vending machine” into their daily calendar. Impulse decisions actually make up a large portion of our behavior from day to day. Many of the minor decisions of our lives are made impulsively rather than by planning. By placing tempting items in a vending machine, you can tap into this fact and make it work in your favor.

People who are hungry or thirsty will naturally want to reach for the most convenient and tasty treat they can find. A strategically located vending machine is often the fastest and most direct way to satisfy a craving.

Another feature of vending machines is that they can create a desire that wasn’t even there before. Even if you are not particularly thirsty, for example, when you see a soda machine with images of refreshing looking beverages on the front you probably find yourself suddenly in the mood for a cold beverage. The same is true for other items sold in vending machines, whether they are chips, candy bars or anything else.

Making the Most of Vending Machines

Vending machines have the potential to be extremely popular and profitable, but there is also the question of where you place them, what you stocky them with and other important factors.

Depending on the size of your business and the characteristics of your employees or customers, you may have to experiment with stocking your vending machines with different products. There are, however, certain principles that tap into the psychology of vending machines.

  • Keep vending machines clean and well maintained.
  • Provide a good diversity of choices.
  • Keep machines well stocked, but not totally full. Research shows that people are more likely to use them if a certain element of scarcity is present (i.e. machine is not totally stocked).
  • Stock the most expensive items in the center. People are conditioned to expect the featured products to be centrally placed.
  • Stock the product you want to sell most of on the left. Just as we read from left to right in English speaking countries people will scan vending products from left to right.

Vending machines have been popular ever since they were invented, and there’s no reason to believe this will ever change. They provide a reliable way for businesses to make recurring revenue while providing a valuable service to customers and employees.

This article was written by Ron Wahlen, owner of 247VendingMachines, Brisbane’s vending experts!