The New Vending Machine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The humble vending machine might not need to be as humble any more. Although the traditional vending machine has had declining locations and sales over the past decade, it is far from dead. New businesses using the vending machine – such as Red Box – have been popping up all over. Machines are betting set up with new, touch-screen and high tech features, and loaded with products ranging from soft drinks, electronics, movies, and live bait.

There are even vending machines that dispense prescription medicine. InstyMeds Corp., based in Minnesota, places machines in health clinics and links them to a doctors’ computer system. To dispense the prescription, the system validates the patient’s identity and prescription using unique codes.

Live bait, soft drinks, medicine – new technologies are giving a new life to an old distribution method.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. View the video link for WSJ:
    1. http://online.wsj.com/video/the-vending-machine-evolves/107B03C4-E83F-450D-B8CB-378D7006F84F.html
    2. What are key points from the video about new products and start-ups?
    3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of vending machines for distribution and marketing?
    4. Poll students:
      1. What vending machines have you observed lately?
      2. What have you bought from a vending machine? Where? Why?
      3. Have students do a Google search for different types and uses of vending machines.
        1. Markets
        2. Products
        3. Locations
        4. Prices
        5. What products could be effectively marketed in a vending machine?
          1. Product groups?
          2. Target markets?
          3. Locations?
          4. Have students view Red Box’s Web site.
            1. http://www.redbox.com/
            2. Discuss how the site is used and its effectiveness level.
            3. How can other companies use this strategy?
            4. Have students view InstyMeds Web site.
              1. http://www.instymeds.com/
              2. What need is this solving?
              3. Video: http://www.instymeds.com/index.php?page=videos

 

Source:  Wall Street Journal, 3/22/12

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