If you haven’t noticed already, we’re fascinated by vending machines. We’re not sure why. Maybe it’s the mystery of what’s happening inside that big metal box to deliver our tasty snack or beverage. Whatever it is, we love ‘em, which is probably why many of us on the Pavone team can’t pass an interesting one without rifling through our pockets for singles and spare change.
There are some machines that don’t excite us. Vending machines that dispense coffee are nothing new. They’ve been a staple in hospitals and highway rest stops for decades. As for the quality of the coffee they dole out? Let’s not mince words – it pretty much sucks.
Starbucks hopes to change that perception, and has teamed with Coinstar to put coffee vending machines alongside Coinstar’s change-counting machines. The machines will be branded under Starbucks’ working class brand, Seattle’s Best, and will offer seven varieties of coffee, mochas and lattes starting at just one dollar.
The decision to place a vending machine next to a coin-counting machine is genius. We’re guessing Coinstar is getting a nice kickback, but it’s not like they need it. Coinstar also operates Redbox, the DVD vending machine cash cow that raked in $1.56 billion in 2011.
For now, 500 of the Seattle’s Best machines will be installed nationwide (mainly in the northeast and west coast) by the end of the summer. Coinstar’s long term goal? To install 15,000 coffee vending machines, with each machine expected to brew up to $12,000 a year in sales.
No word on whether the machines will accept credit cards. That means we’ll have to carry around a dollar, just in case one of us has the good fortune of discovering one of these technological marvels.
MARKETING LESSON: Can a six foot by three foot metal box deliver your brand’s product while living up to your high standards of quality? If so, it might also be able to deliver some serious profits.