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The Culture of Compact-sized Machines for Developing Vending Business in Indonesia

vending machine mesin indonesia

In Indonesia, people may not be familiar with vending machines. They probably may not even spell the words right when they want to search online to get more information. Some spell it finding machine, some spell it vending mesin, or some others who may not know what these machines are actually called and only recognise them as machines that sell drinks and snacks. Low exposures to these machines can be one of the reasons. Ironically, most vending machines in Indonesia are in areas limited to people with higher economic levels. Places like shopping malls, office buildings, apartment buildings, city hospitals, airports or other locations with premium facilities.

This is due to the high rate of vandalism in Indonesia. Areas with lower economic levels may see these machines as a form of luxury, thus raising the criminal rate. Vending machines offer the 24/7 services without someone standing nearby to guard them. While it is not ideal to place a vending machine in public places due to several reasons like these, it is undeniable that when they are utilised in the right way, vending machines can help a lot of people.

More than just marketing campaign tool

We mostly find these machines as a tool to promote products, and we see them in shopping malls or public places. Well, if we were to talk about a vending machine in pink with rows of makeup products, it surely will attract female customers right away. Or maybe you find ones that promote certain products that coexist with the brand’s online marketing campaigns. We all know that these machines are placed in areas with foot traffic coming from people who have known about these brands. Maybe they have found out about the promotion from the brand’s social media, then proceed to visit the vending machine from the mentioned location. More or less these brands already have some sort of fan base upon expanding their business with vending machines so they rely on regular customers. This may sound easy as a marketing campaign tool, but what about people who don’t understand how to use a vending machine? What can make people interested in using a vending machine?

Price inflations

Vending machine business payment options
Vending machine payment options

The most certain way to answer the said questions is the price of the products. When people spot a vending machine in a place, let’s say like at the airport where prices are already inflated as it is, they will have a mindset that products in the vending machines are more expensive. Some places do inflate their price points to make up for the rental cost. Some also don’t like the idea of not receiving any change, like ones in Japan where people can pay with coins. Even if the prices are not expensive, people encounter the next problem which is the condition of the money they are inserting. We may have heard a lot about people complaining about their cash getting stuck during the purchasing process. It then stuck (no pun intended) into their minds with something along this line “if you want to buy something from a vending machine, keep in mind that you have to have your money in its best condition”.

At one point, it is true that we must keep the mint condition of the money to avoid jamming when it is read by the bill validator. But if you go around the lower economic areas, neat and clean cash is quite a rare sight. With the higher economic areas they rarely bring cash anymore, they can just pay by cards and not a lot of vending machines install EDC card readers. So then, the chance of people relying on these vending machines is low. However, a cashless payment system is enabled on vending machines these days, with no cards needed. People can just use their smartphones to pay.

Then it raises another question, why should we start a vending machine business in Indonesia?

Unusual opportunities

Bus Station Vending Machine
Bus Station Vending Machine

As business owners, choosing areas of business with less competitors can be a great venture to try. Most worry about the security of placing vending machines in public places, it is just inevitable, as mentioned in the earlier part of this article. In indoor public places where security guards are available, it is still feasible to do this vending business. But it will not raise the awareness of vending machines to the wider public. An idea is to give a promotional offer, making the products more approachable to the public in places like parks, train stations, and bus stops. Places that are in public with high foot traffic but still have a sense of security. An example is when a customer wants to buy bottled water in a bus stop, while waiting for the bus to come. Walking to a minimart can be a choice, but if the price points of the products inside the vending machine at the bus stop are on flash sale, or if there is a cashback promotion with online wallets, the chance they go to the vending machine is higher. The better you make the product look appealing, the higher it becomes approachable to the people.

Final note

All of the features that are mentioned in this article can be provided by Smartven, from the cashless payment system to the promotion enability. So if you have been thinking of getting a vending machine for your local business, you can click the button below and book a consultation with Smartven for further inquiries and prospects. You can also check our website and Instagram page for more information on Smartven. Stay healthy and see you soon!


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