November 1st, 2019
By Jeff Adair, Editor

Digital media has created a wealth of marketing opportunities for convenience service operators. Neil Swindale, owner of VendCentral , a website designer who has focused on convenience services, offered an overview on digital marketing during the National Automatic Merchandising Association show in Las Vegas.

Joining him on stage was Matt Harlos, director of marketing at Gimme Vending , a vending management software provider.

Swindale focused a lot of his comments on social media. He stressed the importance of having employees contribute content to the company’s social media sites. Everyone today has a cell phone, he said, and most cell phones have cameras capable of taking good pictures that can be posted on social media.

Both speakers noted the importance of updating the website continuously. Swindale said today’s customers are basing a lot of their decisions on what they find on companies’ websites. Most buying decisions are made in two or three minutes after visiting a website, he said; female buyers decide in one minute. 

Fresh n’ Lean , a purveyor of organic ready-to-eat meals, has introduced an on-the-go fridge for employees as part of subsidized corporate wellness plans. 
 
The SmartFridge service offers participating companies on-site access to ready-to-eat organic lunch options, including meals prepared with fresh fish and steak, for under $10.
 
“Every meal in our SmartFridge solution beats unhealthy chain restaurant options, both on price and convenience. Providing affordable, accessible, wholesome meal options is one of the best things you can do for your employees,” said Thomas Asseo, co-CEO of Fresh n’ Lean.
 
The refrigerators utilize a smart tablet for simple, rapid ordering and are restocked weekly. There are more than a dozen lunch options available including roasted asparagus with dill aoli and sustainable salmon, orange glazed cage-free chicken breast with broccoli, harissa grass-fed steak with brown rice and Brussel sprouts. Depending on the company plan, meals can start as low as three to six dollars.  

iDrink Technology Co. Ltd ., a Taiwan company that designs its iDrink Smart vending machine and the iDrink mobile app, recently signed a joint venture agreement with Sino United Worldwide Consolidated Ltd., a New York based fintech firm, to distribute the blockchain enabled iDrink Smart IoT vending machine in the U.S.

iDrink will soon launch Drink Coin, a cryptocurrency backed by the alcoholic beverages industry, through its ICO in the coming year.

Drink Coin is the world's first cryptocurrency backed by an operational enterprise of iDrink’s smart IoT beverage vending machines business. This model brings the cryptocurrency and beverage industries together, adding more value to the Drink Coin, by way of the iDrink business operations that have already started in different locations around the world. SUIC will be responsible for overseeing the marketing and sales of iDrink smart IoT beverage vending machines, which will back the Drink Coin.

Chowbotics has enhanced its robotic salad making vending machine to include a larger tablet display, a new user interface, wheels for increased mobility, and improved servicing features that reduce operator refill and cleaning time.

Known as Sally 2.0, the machine now offers breakfast and snack options such as Açai bowls, fruit and yogurt bowls and more. Customers can now experience these enhancements at several new deployments worldwide, as the machine has already been introduced to more than 70 locations including offices, college campuses, hospitals and more.

Enhancements include a fully re-designed user interface and a larger 15.6-inch tablet display that makes it simple for customers to make personalized or pre-loaded selections. 

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