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The Vending Machine Business Concept Still Going Strong in South Africa

The vending machine business has proven to be a lucrative business avenue for over 100 years, and continues to be so. Vending machines are a perfect business opportunity if you’re looking to start your own business, or you’re trying to set up a second income. Vending is an excellent option and is quite affordable. It’s popular with business owners because of its low start up and low overhead costs. And fortunately, it’s still popular with its customer base too. It also lends itself to growth, as you can start with one, use the profit from the first one to buy the next, and build your business from there.

Like all businesses, having the right product in the right location will automatically generate a rewarding return on investment.

There are numerous benefits to owning vending machines and they are in demand now, more than ever. In South Africa, it still remains a cash business, with the owner collecting the money when they replenish the stock. In other countries, they’re a bit more advanced and the customer can pay with their debit or credit card, putting the money straight into the owner’s bank account.

When buying into the vending machine business, location and foot traffic will always be the most important factor. Profitability of the business is going to rest predominantly on foot traffic.

Historically, the best locations for vending machines are places where the customer might not easily have access to a shop or convenience store … maybe because of the location, or, perhaps the hours they require a ‘snack’ are outside normal store hours. The most popular places are factories (which could be isolated from shops), hospitals (where employees are working late hours or visitors are waiting at all hours of the night), schools (where children aren’t allowed to leave the property) or offices (simply for convenience).

A clever tactic businesses have been known to implement is to put a vending machine onsite. This reduces the amount of absenteeism as employees don’t have to nip out to go to the shops during working hours.

According to the Vending Association of South Africa, “Approximately 10% of all the people on a site will use a vending machine.”

Your next most important factor will be what products you put inside the machine.

While South African vending machines are still not as bizarre as other countries, they are progressing quite quickly with what they have to offer. Customers have grown accustomed to finding vending machines in a whole host of locations, but also, the variety of what the vending machines offer has grown so much too. Traditionally, vending machines would be filled with all the ‘guilty-pleasure’ snacks like chocolates, crisps and sweets. With a new health-conscious target market emerging, you can find some machines containing health snacks like raw nuts, dried fruit and lean biltong. This is a clever tactic and ensures you’re catering for the masses.

By following the hard and fast rules of owning a vending machine (location and product variety), you can’t really go wrong.