The vending machine that gradually moves to the center of the stage
Strictly speaking, the volume and importance of VEB are not high among previous several domestic e-cigarette exhibitions. But to some extent, this session has some symbolic significance. On the one hand, it is stationed in Beijing, the heart of the motherland, radiating the northern cities; on the other hand, it is the first large-scale exhibition facing channels after the “online ban” on November 1.
In other words, the brand is bound to provide solutions for the current market environment.
Throughout the platform, the vending machine is undoubtedly one of the solutions. Not only head brands like MOTI, SNOWPLUS, and RELX, but also many middle and tail brands have placed their own vending machine samples in prominent places on the platform.
It’s not hard to find that the vending machine as a way to join has become the standard. The reason is not hard to explain, after online ban, the offline channel has become the only outlet, but for the e-cigarette manufacturers who lack fast consumption industry precipitation, channel construction has become heart disease.
In this way, vending machines with high compatibility of different channels and age discrimination are naturally paid more attention.
Vending machine manufacturers may be the ‘biggest winners’
“Sales amount raised two or three times more than before” (online ban), “the person in charge of the booth who loves vending machine told Gewu consumption reporter.
According to him, Kuai, one the one hand, it has complete equipment manufacturing and technical service capabilities, and can provide one-stop solutions for e-cigarette brands;
On the other hand, brands paid more attention to the exhibition (for example, we participated in the previous Shanghai steam culture week), so vending machine manufacturers have reached cooperation with many top brands and ushered in a small sales climax after online ban.
Wang Tao, who is in charge of Vape Box booth and vice president of Leading Fog technology, said, “I don’t think the vending machine will be hot after this online problem, we can only serve as a supplement to the retail channel.”
Wang Tao believes that online failure means that the offline e-cigarette market will usher in a reshuffle and everything will be “back to zero”. Therefore, the focus of e-cigarette brand will also shift to the development of core channels and the management and control of core channels.
In his opinion, the most important sales channels of e-cigarettes are exclusive stores and CVS, which are obviously unable to compare with the traditional cigarette capillary terminal network. Users who are worried about the shortage of cartridges are likely to return to cigarettes due to the inconvenience of purchase.
In other words, vending machines play the role of part of e-commerce: to extend the coverage span and dimension of e-cigarette sales network at a lower cost than exclusive stores.
Wang Tao regards the vending machine as a way for the brand to empower the channel: “for the brand business, the vending machine is actually empowering its customers to win customers better.”
In other words, in the offline competition, the essence of competition is actually “how to make channels make money”. The vending machine, on the other hand, can form a network effect similar to 7-11, further lock in users, form loyalty, and finally achieve a win-win situation between brand and sales channel.
Crossover players fight off
“The reason why this business is independent is that e-cigarette is a very specialized field.”
Wang Tao explains why he got involved in electronic cigarette vending machines. According to the reporter, VAPE BOX is not strictly a “new player” specialized in electronic cigarette vending machine. It hatches in the well-known domestic intelligent retail terminal equipment + SaaS service enterprise Youpeng.
Before that, Youpeng has been engaged in the research and development and production of traditional vending machines. It is not only a system provider of Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola and other brands, but also provides equipment for vending machine operators such as Youbao.
But e-cigarettes are different from drinks and snacks. On the one hand, there is a huge market after the transformation of traditional smokers; on the other hand, electronic cigarettes have a larger imagination space in data collection and analysis
In Wang Tao’s view, it is an opportunity to be seized to solve the problem of access for e-cigarette brands. In particular, with the momentum of small and medium-sized brands breaking through the third and fourth tier market, Youpeng can further improve and polish SaaS service capabilities.
Unlike Youpeng who is trying to take advantage of VAPE BOX to further develop SaaS, Rongbang intelligence regards e-cigarettes as one of the driving points in the process of expanding self-service retail terminals. According to the head of Rongbang intelligent booth, their orders almost tripled after the online failure of e-cigarettes.
On the one hand, it’s true that the market demand has skyrocketed; on the other hand, before entering the vending terminal, Rongbang intelligence has accumulated in the third-party payment for seven years and established a large number of agent channels.
In other words, VAPE BOX is a channel that first has technology, and then helps brand building through capability output; while Rongbang intelligence is a solution that first has an existing channel, and then puts its needs into practice.
Channel first, to some extent, reflects the fast pace of R & D. Rongbang intelligent started late and began to develop terminal equipment only last year. However, self-service marshmallow machine and electronic cigarette vending machines have been successively implemented, and the 18-year-old age discrimination solution will be released this week.
However, crossover players are not necessarily optimistic about the e-cigarette vending machine. The head of the booth Kuai vape vending machine revealed that the e-cigarette vending machine has been in operation for three years, but they are still more optimistic about the products such as the box vending machine.
“We just make machines. We talk to XX brand. No matter how many orders they place, we only make so much money.” He said.
“At 3.0, we thought that the equipment must have the marketing ability, the concept of fast consumption and the function of entertainment.”
Wang Tao explains the concept of “new retail 3.0” of VAPE BOX. In his opinion, 1.0 equipment only needs to meet the most basic selling functions, with the goal of satisfying different scene requirements with different sizes and specifications; 2.0 equipment needs to have the functions of 18-year-old age discrimination, profit sharing, etc.
In other words, e-cigarette vending is not only to passively undertake sales demand, but also to be given the ability to actively promote sales and transformation.
Rongbang intelligence also chose a similar route, but it is more like the service platform of e-cigarette operators. Its e-cigarette vending machine business line is named Ruoyin, but it does not produce the e-cigarette of Ruoyin brand, instead, it chooses the e-cigarette brand cooperation that meets its own access standards.
“We’re just transporters of e-cigarettes”
Rongbang intelligent’s booth leader thus summed up the positioning of Ruoyin. On the one hand, through the volume of the sales channel, there is the bargaining power to the upstream, especially the new brand to improve brand awareness; on the other hand, the end is left to the agent for maintenance.
To some extent, both VAPE BOX and Rongbang intelligence are trying to “shift from heavy to light”, but some companies are trying to further “heavy” it.
At the exhibition site, a manufacturer named “quit bar travel” is a very typical example. On its posters, there are huge words “the price of disposable vape is as low as 11 yuan, and the price of vending machines is as low as 15 yuan”. The head of his stand also spoke out about the route of “price butcher”:
“399 yuan, including a vending machine and 24 electronic cigarettes.”
The person in charge of the brand introduced the details of this model to us. On the one hand, cut off the unnecessary cost of e-cigarettes, such as changing the shell process from painting to stickers, or removing the air kit; on the other hand, lower the smoking point than the peers, and pursue small profits and high sales.
In his opinion, one of the most difficult problems for vending machines to compete in the market is that the cost is often too high. Quit bar travel is to reduce the price and the risk of agency: if it is difficult to operate later, you can also sell the vending machine back to the company for 30 yuan.
At the moment when the national standard and relevant laws and regulations are not clear, it is difficult for us to define the vending machine as an outlet of the electronic cigarette market. But we have to say that this form has shown considerable value in protecting minors, filling in sales channel vacancies and locking in users.
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