Vending machines are the new name of the retail game

Young consumers are notorious as the on-demand generation—they want what they want, and they want it faster than now. Their Need For Speed is catching on with brands, who are experimenting with innovative ways to reduce friction for young shoppers. Vending machines that dispense one brand or even a single product are the latest way to give consumers what they want in a quick and convenient way.


Earlier this month grooming startup Dollar Shave Club announced it was shifting its sole emphasis from a subscription-based model to a more frictionless concept for its products: vending machines. The vending machines will offer six kits containing trial-size versions of the brand’s most popular products to consumers who are curious about the brand but don’t want the commitment of a subscription box. Dollar Shave Club will install the machines in high-trafficked areas including airports, malls, and entertainment venues. The convenience factor of the vending machine democratizes the product, making it more accessible to consumers. 


Demonstrating that a food brand can still add a delightful twist to a conventional vending concept, Reese’s set up a two-way vending machine—called the Reese’s Candy Halloween Candy Converter Machine—in NYC from 4pm to 9pm on Halloween to allow trick-or-treaters to trade in unwanted Halloween candy for the brand’s iconic peanut butter cups. Users simply dropped their less-desirable candy into the top slot and picked up the Reese’s cups that were dispensed in return. The machine was stocked with 10,000 cups in anticipation of demand during its five-hour run. 


As part of its #LiveBoldly campaign, cosmetics brand Revlon teamed up with beauty retailer Ulta to launch a traveling vending machine that dispensed gift-with-purchase Revlon products at multiple Ulta locations. Once Ulta customers made a purchase, they could post a picture to Instagram with the hashtag #LiveBoldly. After verifying their Instagram handle, they could then use the Revlon vending machine to choose a free gift based on the price tier of their purchase. One of the machine’s exciting gift options was a lipstick that could be engraved on site, offering consumers the chance to get a personalized beauty product