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Why do we use vending machines? What is their appeal? Why has vending remained such a successful way of selling products, especially food and drink, to the consumer?

It’s an impulse thing!

its an impluse thingNearly all purchases from vending machines are on impulse. How often have you actually planned going to a vending machine as part of the schedule for your day? Never? Exactly! A lot of the decisions that we make through life are impulsive rather than planned and vending taps in to that impulsive side of your character.

Vending machines are located strategically where they can draw on impulse very effectively, such as on a station platform or near a waiting area. Feeling bored or a bit tired? Well how about some chocolate to carry you along!

In some cases, a well-placed and cleverly stocked vending machine can actually create a desire for a product. For example, a cold drinks machine displaying images of glistening cans of fruity zestiness can trigger you to buy a drink even if you’re not particularly thirsty.


If you’re very thirsty or hungry, a vending machine can provide an instant and satisfying solution. Much easier than going for a walk to find a shop!

Hunger happens a lot!

hunger happens a lotYup, like it or not, we are all slaves to our appetites. We become hungry and thirsty many times through the average day. It’s supply and demand in its most fundamental form because regardless of age, gender or wealth, you need food and drink in order to survive. A well-placed vending machine meets that need when it happens. Instant gratification is the much simpler and appealing option to most of us and the fact is that simpler solutions are often the most successful ones.

Risk loses to reward!

One of the main things that we consider with most purchases is the risk weighed against reward. This is usually measuring the cost against the perceived value of the purchase. Fortunately, the benefit of food and drink vending is that we all get hungry or thirsty so the value of buying refreshments from a machines outweigh the cost: you will find enjoyment in consuming the product and most likely have more energy afterwards.

Interestingly, it is a widely understood part of psychology that we like to reward ourselves, much the same as when our parents would reward us for being good, as adults we like to reward ourselves when we have completed a task or made it through that very boring meeting! A trip to the vending machine brings just what you feel you deserve. Well done you! Have some choccy!

It’s like being given a prize!

it like winnig a prizeThere is also an element of interaction with vending machines that you don’t necessarily get in a shop. Buying something from a machine is more of a personal thing; there is direct interaction with the device, the selection of your product, inserting your money and watching your crisps or candy move forward when you press the buttons, topped off by the satisfaction of reaching in to retrieve your goodies from the chute. It is very much like being awarded a prize which can also heighten your enjoyment of eating it.