Thursday, October 19, 2017 | Today's Vending Industry News
Startup Helps Operators Rent Vending Machine Shelf Space, Seeks Beta Test Participants

Posted On: 9/26/2017

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BOSTON -- A startup called Ohner is testing an online marketplace that connects operators with snack and beverage manufacturers that are new to the market and wish to rent vending machine slots for new product trials and other promotions.

Ohner founder Caspian Zhu, a recent Boston University graduate, said the company is kicking off its beta test with a Boston operator who is initially devoting 24 of the slots in its 700 machines to the trial. Four product suppliers have signed on so far. The startup is also seeking more operator and supplier participants.

The concept works like other online marketplace services that enable people to lease or rent their assets. The operator posts a profile for an available machine on the Ohner website, including its location, demographic, rent cost, availability and slot dimensions.



Snack and beverage startups can then search the site for the most suitable vending machine shelf-space in which to sell their product. Once the product supplier pays the rent, they ship product to the operator's facility, where it will be included in the planogram during routine stocking. 

Similar to the way in which AirBNB lets people rent their lodging space, operators choose the rent they want to charge. Ohner's only recommendation is to set the rate high enough to compensate for the income that would be generated if a popular item were stocked in its place. 

Ohner automatically deducts a 10% service fee from the operator's rent. At the end of each week, the vending operator transfers all the revenue generated by the renter's product to Ohner, which then passes it along to the supplier during the term of the lease. Operators keep the full rent whether or not the product sells.

"Ohner helps vending operators to generate more revenue from rent without increasing any cost," Zhu said "It lets operators offer the newest products for customers to try, but they are also insured to have the profit. On the other hand, with the help from vending machines, snack and beverage startups can amplify product awareness and increase accessibility. This is a win-win business where both parties are benefiting."

For more information, contact Caspian Zhu at caspianz@bu.edu.