And Now For Something Completely Different: The Dollar Shave Club Vending Machine

by Paul Schlossberg
Posted On: 3/26/2019

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Have you ever been to the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN? It has been about 20 years since my last visit there. The mall gets 40 million visitors annually. As a comparison, according to thestreet.com, the combined population of the 12 largest cities in the U.S. (just the cities, not the metro areas) is 26.7 million people.

 
   
While walking around, we encountered the Dollar Shave Club vending machine. As you can see from the photos nearby, the machine appears to have frosted glass. There are orange light bulbs which draw your attention to a button marked PUSH. When you do that, the frosting disappears and reveals the products displayed on the shelves. The vending machine has two extended side panels with screens and an interactive panel for ordering. There are wood panels, more like floor boards, covering the machine. It's not a traditional vending machine in look or feel.

 
   
There are six different selections, each packed in a cardboard tube – about 7" H. x 3-1/2" W. My selection was The Smooooth Shaves Kit. Each kit sells for $12.00. Your payment options are really easy – cashless.

Retail Dive reported in November 2018 that the company has deployed at "…the Mall of America in Minnesota, the Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco, and Roosevelt Field in Long Island and LaGuardia Airport in New York." This is a new channel for Dollar Shave Club as they diversify from their subscription-based sales model.  

You might read this and think it has absolutely nothing to do with your business. Open up your mind to the possibility there are lots of products you could sell that you've never sold in your vending machines or at your micromarkets.

What else could you sell? Have you done some market research, especially at your best locations? Did you ask respondents to tell you what other products they would like to buy? Maybe you won't be selling men's grooming products. But there might be some new category opportunities. Are there other HBA (health and beauty aids) items you could stock and offer?

Sell something new, something you've never sold before. Maybe it will catch on and you will be selling more stuff.



» Paul Schlossberg is president of D/FW Consulting, working with clients to merchandise and market products in impulse-intense selling environments, such as vending, onsite foodservice and convenience stores. Based in the Austin, TX, area, he can be reached at Paul@DFWConsulting.net or (972) 877-2972 or www.DFWConsulting.net.