Every vending and coffee operator loves and depends on peak hours. People are standing in line for coffee, snacks are rolling off the shelves, all the machines are put to constant use—it’s the most profitable time of the day. But high highs are offset by low lows. During off-hours, machines will sit unused for extended periods and generate little-to-no income. And every operator knows how difficult it is to break out of these patterns and generate attention when there isn’t any.
So, here’s a tip: create Happy Hours.
A Happy Hour is a recurring limited-time discount. For example, you can introduce a 15% discount for all your products between 7-8 pm. Such a discount aims to get people to visit and buy from your machine during times they might otherwise not.
Let’s take a look at how you can introduce Happy Hours to boost vending and coffee sales during off-peak hours with the help of Vendon’s IoT solution.
What is telemetry for vending and coffee machines?
The short and simple answer is this – telemetry solutions such as Vendon allow you to tap into all the important data from your vending machine and manage it remotely.
All you need to do is connect a piece of hardware—a vBox—to your machine, and then you can view and manage sales data, stock levels, maintenance events, encashment, route planning, and more right from your computer. You can find more info about the possibilities of telemetry here.
For now, however, we’re only interested in 3 of the many things telemetry offers—consumption patterns, remote price changes, and sales reports. These 3 features will help you plan, implement, and launch a successful Happy Hours promotion.
Step 1: Determine the perfect time
First thing first, during what hours should you host your campaign? Finding the perfect time for your Happy Hours is a balancing act. You need to identify a time window when sales dip, while there are still enough potential customers nearby to sell to.
For example, in a typical office that might be around 4-5 pm—everyone’s still around but nobody’s thinking about coffee or snacks, since people are ending their day and looking forward to heading home. By having a promotion during this time, you can nudge them to grab a coffee for the road or a snack for later, thus getting sales you might otherwise miss out on.
But don’t worry, you don’t have to rely on guesstimates to discover the ideal time window for your Happy Hour promo.
You can follow the exact consumption patterns in your Vendon Cloud. Through this, you can see the daily flow of customers, identify peak hours, and discover which are the slower hours of the day.
With such a data-based approach, it’s easy to identify the dips in sales and find that sweet spot for your campaign.
That said, you should always consider whether there are enough people around for the promo to be effective. There’s no point in doing a Happy Hours promo in an office after 8 pm if the only person there is the security guard.
Step 2: Introduce price changes remotely
Once you’ve decided during which hours you want your promotion to be active, it’s time to set it up.
With the Vendon IoT solution you can change product prices remotely in your Vendon Cloud account, which is super convenient in day-to-day machine management. But the ability to do this is particularly handy for a Happy Hour promotion, especially since price changes can be scheduled to happen at a specified time, allowing you to plan in advance.
Vendon’s convenient functionalities make it easy to get started and run simple Happy Hour campaigns. Alternatively, you can use the available APIs to create and manage advanced price change schedules in your ERP system, unlocking the features and flexibility you need for your particular scenario.
Step 3: Measure and optimize performance
After the campaign has been running for a while, it’s essential to check in and see whether it’s bringing the results you need.
Vendon makes it easy to track how effective your campaigns are. With the Sales analytics and reports, you can see how your Happy Hours promotion, among other things, impacts consumption and profits.
If you don’t reach the results you want, you can always quickly and easily modify the hours during which the promotion takes place to see if a different time of day works better. Or if things are going great, then perhaps you might want to consider extending the Happy Hours to keep the money flowing in.
On top of that, you can follow consumption specifics. For instance, it could become apparent that certain products perform better than others during Happy Hours. As a response, you should consider tailoring your product stock to ensure the availability of in-demand goodies.
A couple of extra tips
Now you know how to set up and launch Happy Hour campaigns! Here are a few extra tips to keep in mind to make the most of them.
Promote your promotion
There’s no point in your promotion if people don’t know it’s happening. At the very least, we suggest adding a sticker on your machine that lets customers know during what hours they can expect discounts.
If your machines are placed in offices or campuses, it can be a smart move to ask the local administrators to include some info about Happy Hour times in any internal newsletters to ensure as many potential customers as possible know about it.
It can take some time for people to recognize what’s going on and get used to Happy Hours being a thing. Accordingly, it’s a good idea to establish some consistency early on so that people know when to visit and perhaps even start making a habit out of it.
You should also keep this in mind when judging the success of your early campaign trial runs. Don’t be too hasty to change the promo hours if you don’t get high returns from day one. Maybe you’ve chosen the perfect time, but people simply haven’t yet gotten used to the idea yet or noticed it at all.
There are some times of day when attracting customers is nearly impossible. A Happy Hour promotion can change that and get your machines generating revenue during times they’d otherwise sit inactive.
Vendon makes it easy to plan, launch, and optimize your campaign and helps you make better use of your fleet to drive more revenue.