Beacons make vending machines speak

Physical Web Use Case: Vending Machines

Vending Machines Are Speaking to their Customers via Beacons!

Google’s Physical Web is offering the possibility to transfer  any object, such as vending machines, into a smart, talking object. A Beacon that is supporting Google’s Physical Web protocol is installed to the object and sends out an URL that a mobile phone can detect as a nearby information that is available for access near the object. (What is Physical Web?)

Beacons can send URLS via the Eddystone protocol

The beacon that is installed into a vending machine has to support the Eddystone protocol. This way it can send an URL that can be received by Android OS without the need of an application. The users just gets a notification, that there is digital information available for the machine the customer is standing next to. Beaconinside took it upon them to bring vending machines out of their anonymity and to transfer them into digital touch points for the customers of the vending machines operators. This way the operators and owners of vending machines, but also the brands receive valuable data on the customer behavior when they are at the machine. Such as frequency of usage, rush hours etc.

Valuable information for the customers

The customers get valuable information and can give feedback for the listed products right away. The search for specific and context related information is simplified and made faster. If the customer shows specific interest in a product, he can access additional product information, such as nutritional info or allergens, via a smartphone and the provided URL. Further he can receive notifications on special deals and payment options. The beacon just transfers an URL that is called by the device. The forwarding of the link is managed by the corresponding data management platform (DMP). Via the DMP it is possible to change the transmitted URLs without the need to configure the beacon every time.

First Project with Vending Machines in Berlin

The first project was the installation of Beacons in Berlin’s underground station vending machines managed by Theo Public Vending GmbH. The customers were asked to give feedback and on the product listings. What started as a test, proofed very quickly showed that more and more customer like to use the possibility communicate with the operator and give them feedback on their product listings. After a short while they received 10 filled out forms per day. “We noticed, that especially two products were requested by the customers. We followed that request and listed the products for a test in our vending machines.” says Richard Stummer, directing manager of Theo Public Vending GmbH. With the help of the beacons the company knows which machines received what kind of feedback and can react to them right away. Brands also can benefit from that technology. Beaconinside and Theo Public Vending have started a sales campaign for Mondelez International in the vending machines. Mondelez wants to try out new ways with its brand Oreo, to reach new customers. They are using the infrastructure of Theo Public Vending (procured by Beaconinside). This campaign has already reached more user and generated more sales.

The analytics of the data and the management of the beacon infrastructure is both done with Proximity DMP.