Vending Machine Industry: Convenience To Social Empowerment

How vending machine industry is helping in social empowerment.

Almost all of us have experienced embarrassment when buying certain products like sanitary pads, condoms, etc. from a store. Fearing judgement on the part of the owner. This uneasiness among customers is termed as “retail embarrassment”. Which is a driving factor for their shopping basket size. Both in terms of volume and price and this is where Vending machine Industry can make a change.

 While most of the millennials have moved to purchasing such “embarrassing” products online. There is still a lacunae in terms of the longer delivery time for online purchases. Which is being exploited by the retailers by installing vending machines inside store premises or at standalone strategic locations to ensure a “private” shopping experience for the consumers. 

The avoidance of these impulsive (and sometimes urgent)  purchases by customers who need them,  are inhibitive not only from a business sales perspective but have social implications as well. Since most of these purchases are related to safe sex, better reproductive hygiene and population control measures. There is a special impetus given by the Central and State governments in India (and the world in general) to provide the population. With retail options that can eradicate the feeling of shame during purchase.

Being such important instruments for ensuring good public health. It is the endeavor of the government and even non-governmental organizations to make such products available at the cheapest or subsidized rates to ensure affordability for the rich and the poor alike. 

While online marketplaces offer the garb of anonymity for the “private” shopping experience (you don’t even have to show your face to the courier delivery executive if you choose the “leave at the doorstep” delivery option). But the exorbitant (going as high as threefold at times) premium charged by the online retailers. Over and above the retail prices of these products makes it for the majority of the Indian population belonging to lower income strata to buy these health improving, and at times life saving, commodities.

Besides, the (at least) two day shipping period taken by e-commerce companies to deliver any product does not augur well for the urgency with which these products are needed by people.

Here in comes the novelty of an already available physical retail option – vending machines. Vending machines provide an inherently “personal” shopping experience as only one person can purchase from the machine. At a given point in time and there is no human interaction needed with the seller. The ability to provide such a private shopping experience to customers offers unparalleled advantages to vending machine businesses. To leverage the opportunity and combine the best of both physical and digital worlds through a new “phygital” approach.

By making a vending machine “smart” through the use of digital technology for capturing and processing real time data, the vending machine operator can provide both sales insights to the product manufacturers as well as provide the much needed data backing to guide policy responses by governments in matters related to public health.

Read more about how Health care sector is booming In Vending Machine Industry:

We present below a (non-exhaustive) list of commodities which are considered “embarrassing” purchases by customers, particularly in the Indian landscape and the most pertinent locations for deploying vending machines to dispense those items:-


Condoms have long been approved as the best measure for practicing safe sex. Avoiding untimely or unwanted pregnancies as well as to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Yet people are afraid to ask their local pharmacist for a pack of condoms for the fear of judgment and frown from the chemist that this purchase request will elicit. And the fear is not without any basis because, more often than not, the chemist does give one a long stare before bringing the product to the counter, especially in rural parts of the country.

Vendify: vending machine Indsutry

Considering the importance of availability and affordability of public health to propagate safe sex practices. Many state governments in India have taken the initiate to install Condom Vending Machines (CVMs) at metro stations, college campuses, hospitals, dispensaries, residential societies and other public cases.

Apart from these obvious locations, vending machine operators may also tie up with hotel and resort chains. To install vending machines on their premises as people tend to buy more condoms when they are vacationing.

This can help the vending machine operators drive more sales and for the hoteliers, having these machines deployed would serve as an additional point in their service offerings centered around “convenience” on which the hospitality industry thrives.

Sanitary Pads

Adolescent girls are often shamed into buying sanitary napkins because it’s not something they grow up with. Expecting or purchasing before puberty hits. The conversations around a bodily cycle as natural as menstruation are still considered a taboo in many urban areas of the country.

It is, therefore, no wonder that girls ask for sanitary pads at the chemist shop in a hushed tone. And the pharmacists, in turn, exacerbate the awkwardness by wrapping the already packaged napkins with newspapers and placing them in black bags. A vending machine can wipe away the hesitation on the part of both the seller and buyer in these cases.

As menstrual hygiene is detrimental for women’s health, many governments and civil society representatives have installed vending machines. Even if it’s only as a pilot project, on college and school campuses, metro stations, bus stops, railway stations, jails, etc. One strategic location that has been overlooked till now and can be leveraged by budding vending machine entrepreneurs is the rest stops on highways to ensure the availability of sanitary napkins in case of urgency on long journeys where a pharmacy is nowhere in sight.

Contraceptive Pills

 in India pre-marital and non-procreational sex is still looked down upon.  In rural and urban areas alike irrespective of the income and social strata of the community. It is no surprise that buying a reactive birth control measure like contraceptive pills is a hassle. Especially since the buyers of these products are women, as opposed to men in the case of condoms.

And the knowledge that contraception is needed after having sex (again, as opposed to condoms which are bought as a proactive birth control measure) makes the buyers particularly vulnerable to speculation and judgement from the seller.

Since time is of essence in preventing birth. To be effective, most contraception pills must be consumed within 48 hours of conception. E-commerce is also not a viable option even if one opts for express delivery. Leaving the customer more desperate in the face of the prying eyes of the retailers.

The vending machines can act as the much needed saviour in that scenario. By deploying them at easily accessible and private enough locations, the feeling of shame can be minimized.

Even at bustling locations, instead of installing vending machines that specifically dispense contraceptive pills. Vending machine operators may find it better to club these pills along with other medicines in a designated “healthcare vending machine “shoring up sales and subsequently revenues.

Pregnancy Kits

In some house the new of pregnancy is awaited eagerly. For others it may spell doom because of the unexpectedness of the situation. In either case, people want to keep the preliminary confirmation of pregnancy to themselves. Hence, use do-it-yourself pregnancy kits at home.

But purchasing such kits near your place of residence can still stir up controversies, especially for unmarried women. It, thus, makes eminent sense for people to opt for such purchase options that maintain their “retail privacy”.

Vendify: Vending Machine Industry

Vending machines essentially offer a physical purchase option. It also provides a way around the privacy invasion concerns expressed by users of this category of products. As such, the best places to deploy vending machines dispensing pregnancy kits would be at public places. Such as metro stations, hospitals, hotels, clubs. Where people can buy these kits without the risk of running into someone they know and feel embarrassed.

Yet again, the vending machine Industry can choose to club this specific offering with other healthcare items. Unlike pregnancy kits first aid kits are usable at many more locations. As harbingers of change in the public healthcare system for products. Feeling of shame and embarrassment are often associated in such sitautions. The services provided by vending machine operators for this cause show commendable dedication for the betterment of the society.

As an IoT SaaS provider for automating the entire supply chain of a vending machine business. Vendify anticipates and delivers all the backhand support to such vending machine entrepreneurs. So that they can truly focus on moving ahead with their good intentions. To know more about how Vendify can help vending business owners while they pursue this noble cause, write to us  at

To know more about Vendify, please do check out our previous blog on how will the retailer customer experience be in the post COVID world:-


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