Positioning of Vending Machines

Where’s the best place to position a vending machine for maximum impact?

Well, it depends on many things. How big is the vending machine? What sort of products will it be dispensing? What sort of building is it going to be placed in? An office? A hospital? A school?

Obviously, when it comes to hospitals and schools, the positioning of vending machines is a no-brainer: you wouldn’t expect to see a vending machine in a classroom or an operating theatre, so obviously they’re going to be placed in canteens and corridors.

But when it comes to offices, the answer is less clear-cut. True, it’s still invariably the case that they’re found in corridors and canteens, but is there any particular reason to this?

Yes, actually.

It’s largely due to size. Vending machines are particularly suited for large office complexes to provide high quality refreshment to large workforces. As they’re designed to cater for large groups of people, they generally have to be pretty large themselves, to accommodate such an extensive range of snacks. If they were placed in the office themselves, they’d likely just get in the way, taking up precious real estate that could otherwise have been occupied by a desk.

But there’s another very important reason as to why vending machines are seldom placed in the office themselves. Many vending machines have been specifically designed to entice passers-by into making impulse purchases. That’s why they’re always fronted either with an irresistible picture of a best-selling brand – such as a bright red coke can, dripping with cool moisture – or a well-organised, brightly lit array of colourful and beloved products.

If you placed a vending machine in an office, it would constantly be within the peripheral vision of scores of workers. They’d likely find themselves distracted by a constant, almost-unconscious desire to treat themselves.

So there is indeed logic to the positioning of vending machines. They’re placed to be out of sight and out of mind, but designed in such a way that, once glimpsed, a purchase is almost inevitable.