Everybody know that you can get drinks and snacks at pretty much any vending machine. You may even be lucky enough to encounter an ice cream vending machine. But what are some creative things to put in a vending machine? Would you buy a teddy bear from a vending machine? Or how about an inexpensive mini pop it fidget toy? I’ve come to find that you can sell pretty much anything from a vending machine.
Vending Machines at Outdoor Pools
I like to think about vending machines at outdoor pools. Ice cream vending machines make a lot of sense at pools in the summer, since it’s hot and people like to eat ice cream to cool off. If it’s a public pool or country club pool, there’s also probably a lot of foot traffic. I also think that pool toys, sunscreen, sunglasses, first aid kits/band-aids, and even diapers make a lot of sense.
Vending Machines at Dog Parks
You could imagine all sorts of creative items to put in a vending machine for any given micro-location. Think about a dog park, you may not think of it immediately, but it is a great place to put a vending machine. You could cater a vending machine to the dog owners and the dogs. Dog treats and toys make a lot of sense, along with even more specialty items like CBD dog treats.
Creative Things to Put in a Vending Machine at a Winery
Have you ever seen a vending machine at a Winery? I have seen a snack machine near a restroom at a winery, but there’s way cooler and more creative things that could be sold from a vending machine at a winery.
First and foremost, is wine – or maybe a beer or hard alcohol vending machine for a non-wine drinker who tags along with their wine loving friends.
That’s obvious, but looking at more creative things, like literal creations of art. I’m not necessarily talking about wine related art, like cork crafts (which would be fun), but also things like painting and drawings. The Venn Diagram of wine drinkers and art buyers overlaps significantly, so an art vending machine at a winery makes perfect sense.
The art could be local, too. The terroir of the wine is often seen as significant to the taste of the wine, and the same could be said for art (though in not quite as literal of a sense, though the environment in which the art was created often has an effect on the final piece.)
Believe it or not, I actually think Play Doh is a great thing to sell from a vending machine at a winery. It could be for kids who happen to be tagging along, or once some older folks get a little tipsy, it could be an impulse buy to relive their youth or share with their group or party.
Creative Things to Put in a Vending Machine at a Hospital
If your local hospital does not have a gift shop, then a vending machine that has “get well soon” and life event cards (like the birth of a child) would be a great fit. Honestly, even if there is a gift shop, a vending machine on every floor would make sense because hospitals can be huge and the gift shop may be far away from the patient’s rooms.
There’s a lot of cool things in specialized vending machines, but it’s just as important to have a fitting location for all of those creative items. Not to mention there are some actually cold things like milkshakes from a vending machine that will make anyone’s day.
Creative Things to Put in an Off-Grid Vending Machine
Items that may sell well in an off-grid vending machine include non-perishable food items such as energy bars, nuts, and dried fruit, as well as drinks such as water, juice, and sports drinks. Additionally, items such as batteries, flashlights, and other camping/outdoor gear may be popular. Personal hygiene items such as sunscreen, bug spray, and hand sanitizer may also sell well.
Some creative items that could be good for an off-grid vending machine might include:
- Solar-powered chargers and portable power banks for charging electronic devices
- Compact camping gear such as portable stoves, lanterns, and hammocks
- Durable, reusable water bottles or hydration systems (life straw filters)
- Outdoor-specific clothing and accessories such as hats, sunglasses, and insect-repellent clothing
- First-aid kits, emergency blankets, and other survival gear
- Maps and guidebooks for hiking and exploring the local area
- Local and handmade crafts such as pottery, jewelry, and textiles
- Fresh produce if vending machine is placed near a farm or have a refrigeration system
These are a few examples, but there may be other creative items that would be a good fit depending on the location and target audience of the vending machine.