The appeal of vending machines in a post-Covid world

Coinadrink Limited

Vending has certainly adapted a lot over the years, with grander designs, more intuitive user interfaces and higher quality hot drinks. And as the world looks set to change forever due to COVID-19, we have explored how vending may look once the pandemic has ceased. Whenever that may be.

The hygienic foundations of a vending machine

In many ways, vending was as well prepared as it could be prior to the pandemic. Certainly, using a vending machine contains fewer touch points than using the kettle, and the rapid dispense times ensure there’s no congregating around the machine.

Then there’s contactless payments, which had already made an appearance prior to the pandemic. As of the time of this article, the total value of contactless transactions in the UK stands at 662 million. The progressive nature of vending means you can enjoy this convenience on your machine.

Backed up by our own stringent hygiene standards, we ourselves have always emphasised that vending remains a safe entity for the provision of food and drink. And this is a statement backed up by the Automatic Vending Association, which speaks volumes.

How will vending machines change in the future?

Business Reporter states that retail in particular will be significantly affected in a post-COVID world. With greater demand for hygienic facilities and solutions, this may mean more people turn to the convenience and safety of a vending machine.

Let’s go back to cashless and contactless payments for a second. As of 2020, 36% of all vending machines now take this form of payment. This is important, especially when you consider that The World Health Organisation (WHO) stressed the importance of cashless and contactless payments.

Vending has made real strides in other areas, too. Despite the common perception, vending machines are incredibly advanced. Stylish designs incorporate intuitive user interfaces, whilst an enticing drinks menu replicates the quality you’d expect in your favourite coffee shop.

Then there’s product scope. Vending machines have always been associated with “bread and butter” items such as cold drinks and snacks, but they can now offer a wider and perhaps more niche range of items in addition. And thanks to touchscreen interfaces and video capability, vending machines put the consumer at the heart of the experience. Now you can see more information about what you’re buying.

The flexibility of vending machines means they can cater to a wide range of products. These include jewellery, mobile phone accessories, books and a whole lot more besides. Just take a look at one of our blog posts which explores some of the weirdest yet most wonderful vending machines around the world!

And sure enough, we have only been too pleased to get on board with this expansion ourselves. Coinadrink has put our name to a fair few projects over the years helping farms and organisations have a fresh milk vending machine installed, whilst the pandemic saw us start to offer PPE vending machines.

This has been a lifesaver for many businesses who perhaps work in “high risk” areas and require added reassurance.

Product scope, then, is another reason why vending machines may be a golden solution for consumers moving forward. There is now less reason to head off into the nervous uncertainty of busy shopping centres.

How Coinadrink has started to embrace the future of vending

Those of you who have kept an eye on our social media platforms this year will know that we have embraced the future of vending in line with consumer demand.

The vending industry on the whole identified the importance of reducing the already few touch points a vending machine requires. In fact, with contactless vending equipment such as coffee machines and water coolers, it went further, and we were only too happy to add much of this to our offering.

Distance Selection, available on a variety of Vitro coffee machines and the Neo hot drinks machine, senses your finger up to 2cm away from the machine, so you can vend your hot drink without interacting directly with your equipment. Then there’s a collection of contactless water dispensers, which you can use with a foot pedal or a smartphone.

We also touched on our new range of PPE vending machines above, which have been very popular.

Arguably the biggest arrival, though, has been Purezone antimicrobial technology, which can be applied to a variety of our existing equipment.

The film reduces the presence of a variety of bacteria and viruses, and works continuously for three years from application, unaffected by cleaning protocols.

We believe that this is a major breakthrough in the vending industry. It only emphasises the safety of using a vending machine.

To conclude, it’s easy to predict that more consumers may prefer to use the safety and convenience of a vending machine in the future, but only time will tell.   

Alistair Ward
Coinadrink Limited