You may remember a month or so ago Planet Vending brought you the first part of our interview with Nathan Little, in which he introduced us to his new role at one19creative, part of an outfit called Dominion Print. If you missed it, you can read it HERE.
When we spoke, it was clear that Nathan was itching to get Back in Vending to work with his friends and customers – and not for sentimental reasons. The former Vendman stalwart was excited about what his new outfit could bring to the vending party…
‘Let me talk about Content Management first’, he said. ‘Most vending machines in today’s market have the capacity to store and present HD quality media such as product adverts or corporate messages. That’s all very good, but many operators don’t make the most of it, because it’s a faff: someone in the office pulls together the information and puts it onto a USB stick, which is then – with a bit of luck – taken to each individual vending machine in turn and uploaded. It’s a time-consuming process that, by its very nature, can only ever be ‘hit and miss’.
With our Content Management System, operators can accomplish the update remotely. You name it – 50, 60, 100 machines – they can all be updated at the same time. These days, Back in Vending, with the requirement for security messages and COVID-19 updates, CMS can be a real game-changer.
We’re not unique in being able to harness that technology for operators, but here’s where our offer gets really exciting. What I’m really enthusiastic about, which ties in perfectly with content management is facial recognition. We have a little camera that you can put on a vending machine – or anywhere in fact. It’s GDPR compliant, because it doesn’t take any pictures, it’s just provides a constant stream. Basically, the camera records interactions with the vending machine. It gives you data on dwell time, on the number of people that visit a machine; whether or not they showed interest in the machine. It identifies what proportion of visitors were male or female, it gives you data on the age range of each visitor. By using the camera, operators no longer need to guess or estimate their consumer demographic and with that knowledge, the media content on the machine can be fine-tuned to address customers specifically.
‘Content Management paired with Facial Recognition software is a really useful tool that can be offered to brand owners. It’s simple to report back regarding what videos have been shown, when, where and for how long. The ability to display a new video across the entire machine park at a specific time is perfect when a brand is trying to maximise the impact of a new product launch. With the Audience Measurement tool, vital data can be gathered that tells them the consumer demographic that is interested in their product. In situation with a heavy footfall, such information is a commodity that can be traded.
‘Together, the camera and Content Management, working in harness, ensure that you have the best possible POS material, which will encourage sales and help ‘sell-up’ from a single to a multiple item sale, raising a machine’s average transaction value. More sales and more valuable sales: that’s something I know my former customers Back in Vending will be really interested in investigating.
Another string to Nathan’s bow is an App that he believes can revolutionise the way in which vending installations are designed and sold. ‘It uses a mixture of AI and VR technology to place an object in front of you, as if you were there’, Nathan says. ‘A teaching company came to us. They sell meeting spaces, breakout areas and the like, principally to schools and universities. They wanted to be able to show potential customers exactly what a space would look like, with the proposed solution in situ. The app creates a life size, 3D image, so it’s an ideal tool for vending engineers and installers when they survey a site. They can say, ‘right, OK, we want to put these four vending machines in a bank against the wall here. Are they going to fit? Is it going to look good?’ The App also records the dimensions of a location, allowing users to virtually move machines around, to see what works best and where. The app then stores the preferred solution in a form that can be sent back to the office or straight to the customer.
‘Back In Vending it can be used as part of a sales pitch or as an installation tool’, Nathan says. ‘This is brand new, just a couple of sites have it. Going forward, I see us making it available on license to customers, priced according to how many users they’d like have access to it. Thanks to our team’s exceptional graphics skills and our state-of-the-art photogrammetry software, we can generate images of your machines that are so detailed and vivid that bring a proposed solution to life. The final part of our offer to the vending trade is stand building for exhibitions and surrounds for coffee / vending set ups. That’s Dominions core business. We’ve designed and built many all sorts of permanent and temporary structures for customers in the retail/entertainment industries over the years. When I joined the business, I was surprised that potential customers in the vending trade had never been approached. We can offer them a turnkey solution with everything under one roof: computer aided design work, print; fabrication, metal work, project management and our own, dedicated install team. What’s more, I know from experience that people from the vending world will find that we are priced very competitively.
‘We’ve got a lot to offer’, Nathan concludes. ‘I do miss my old vending buddies and I firmly believe that once the business has bitten you, you’ll never be cured. But that’s not to say I want to travel the country meeting up to reminisce about ‘the good old days’! Like I always did at Vendman, I believe that what I have to offer will make a positive and tangible contribution to the successful running of a vending business and that’s what I want to talk about.’