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Mixing Culture and Convenience: Unique Vending Machines Around the Globe

The first thing that comes to mind when we hear about vending machines is that these machines in the past decade have been the source of pick-me-up refreshments when we need one. Years later, you may not imagine that a vending machine can go beyond selling snacks. You see even more unusual products sold inside these machines, with a variety of shapes and visuals of the machine itself. Not just for selling products, brands also use vending machines as a tool for their marketing campaign, which usually works very well seeing how social media drives content these days. In Indonesia, the use of vending machines has just begun, you can see several machines here and there now, with unique products and cashless payment options. But different countries with different cultures also mean different brands and different products, and companies are definitely taking advantage of how convenient it is making vending machines as a tool to make their brand or product stand out even more. We already know about bizarre vending machines in Japan, but there are also some parts of the world that utilise vending machines in unique ways.

Let’s take a look at several examples of notable vending machines around the globe.

High fashion vending machines

Although not everyone understands fashion, especially high-end designers, the use of vending machines make their brands more approachable to the public. The expensive price tags may not make these muggle visitors buy something, but as they share the pictures online, the brand itself gets free marketing. Jacquemus first launched their bag vending machine back in 2020 as a photoshoot property and marketing campaign. It then receives great feedback as a ‘dream vending machine’ for female customers.

jacquemus vending machine
Jacquemus vending machine

By winter last year, Jacquemus made an experience store in Paris with the concept of vending machines. The pink pop-up store successfully made everyone come to check the products even if they don’t actually buy something, and became a hit in social media. Earlier this year, Martin Margiela also adopted this idea by selling their exhibition booklets with vending machines, placed inside Lafayette Anticipations, a gallery in Paris. In the same sense, even high fashion brands can also go well with vending machines, both as a tool for selling and marketing.

Umbrella and raincoat vending machines

We all know that the weather can be unpredictable at times, especially in Europe. Berlinomat, a German company that sells products for daily life, placed umbrella and raincoat vending machines by the hallways to the exits of train stations or airports. They combine a touch screen experience with smart geolocation — which means you can grab a last-minute poncho if it starts to rain. They’re designed for places where we seem to have forgotten something essential. The idea is that they’re there to save the day when you’re in a pinch — and to create some very strong positive associations with their brand. In a similar manner, Indonesia can also adapt this idea, by combining daily products store (e.g. Miniso with vending machines, to be placed in MRT or commuter line stations.

berlinomat vending machine
Berlinomat vending machine

Gold vending machines

In 2010, Gold-to-Go established the first gold vending machine in the UAE. It shook the concept of vending machines so enthusiastically, that what dropped down into the dispense bin were ‘gilded’ ideas. Unsurprisingly, the first one of these vending machines was placed in the lobby of Abu Dhabi’s very posh Emirates Palace hotel, while the machine itself is covered in gold leaf. These machines allow you to buy anything from a 2.5-gram, 24-karat gold coin to a one-ounce gold bar. There’s even an internal computer capable of updating the prices every 10 minutes to reflect real time fluctuations in the market. The same computerisation idea has also been adopted into smart vending machines, but instead of checking the market, it is used to check inventories and sales reports.

Fast food and drink vending machines

In Japan, we may have heard of unique vending machines. And when it comes to the foods and beverages sector, we all want to get quick grabs when we need one. We now have pizza vending machines in Italy, cupcake ATM with several franchises in The United States, and healthier options with Farmer's Fridge vending machines first introduced in Chicago. Here in Indonesia, these types of vending machines are still considered as new ventures to be explored. We previously had a reheatable food vending machine option, but since several examples are already around, the journey can get even further from here.

Digital products vending machines

These days everything is all about digital. We were first introduced to this idea with the ticketing machines, or e-commerce collection points where you scan or input codes to get your products. Things then progressed into NFT vending machines, where you can purchase easily through a one-stop check point, without needing to open your computer to do so. The simpler idea of digital products vending machines is the Gojek vending machine, where customers can top up Gopay nominals or purchase a subscription.

Final note

With different cultures, the use of vending machines can be very diverse, merging into one with technology and convenience. The availability of these machines in a way makes people’s lives much easier. If you have a unique business that can benefit from vending machine, or if you have a business idea with vending machines, be the first to bring your project into reality with Smartven. For more information on vending machine business in Indonesia, you can read more on Smartven’s website or check our Instagram page. You can also click the button below for immediate response. Stay healthy and see you soon!


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