Selling your button designs in stores can be a great way to launch your button business. But buttons are a low cost item that can walk very easily if you have them in a jar or on a board. Packaging buttons is a good way to go. You can make sets of matching buttons and put them on a display card or 4 in a bag with a header card. I will be writing a separate article about button packaging in due course. Another way to ensure you don’t loose buttons to pilfering is sell them using a button vending machine.
These machines are traditional gumball machines converted to take capsules. You can then add multiple buttons in a capsule or also put a special offer or a coupon code in the capsule. People enjoy putting in a coin and turning the handle to see what they are going to get. There is a nostalgia surrounding the gumball machines. Everyone remembers them from their childhood. Button vending machines work for you whilst you are somewhere else, maybe making or designing buttons, maybe at home tucked up in bed with a good book. Put your button sales on Automatic!
This is the flagship! The Beaver Meridian Gumball Machine is a very cool retro style solid metal machine in bright red and designed like a globe. I think it looks very cool. As with all these machines there are some options for the coin mechanism. You can go for a coin mechanism that takes a quarter, two quarters or even 4 quarters. If your in Canada you can have a loonie or toonie coin mechanism. You can even have 2 x $1 or 2 x $2. All these machines also have the option for TOKENS or FREE VEND options.
The above Button Vending Machine – Meridian is quite pricy ($600 – $800) and at 70 lbs it’s quite expensive to ship. But there are other options:
The Northern Beaver takes 1″ or 2″ or 3″ capsules. You can fit 3 1″ buttons or magnets in a 1″ acorn capsule. You can fit 3 buttons or magnets up to 1-3/4″ in a 2″ acorn capsule. The 3″ capsules are a quarter each so I find them a bit expensive but they do take a few 2-1/4″ buttons. The 2″ acorn capsules are only 5 cents each, the 1″ acorn capsules go down to 3 cents each. I see more opportunity in those than the 3″ buttons.
The Round Beaver has all the coin mechanism options but is only available for 1″ vending capsules. The stand is also an optional extra. They sit nicely on the counter and come with fixtures for bolting down or attaching a security wire (as do all Beaver vending machines). The Round Beaver you can pickup for around $150.
Marketing and promotion options using a Button Vending Machine.
Above I’m talking about selling buttons but there are also other uses. These machines have interchangeable coin mechanisms. Those coin mechanisms can have some interesting possibilities. The FREE VEND option is a coin mechanism that requires no coin. Just turn the handle and out pops the capsule. Why is this useful?
Think of putting a machine in a local venue like an art gallery or a café. When someone turns the handle they get a free button and an ad. That ad could lead potential clients to your store, your website or to your latest special offer. A great way to get customers coming to you.
What about TOKEN VENDING? Our mechanism takes a 0.984″ token which is a pretty standard token size. You can get tokens personalised, stamped with your website or your logo. You can send a token to your mailing list, give a token out at trade shows or even walk the streets and hand out your token. It will bring people to your store or event. Event and party organisers can use tokens to distribute “random” capsules that are a kind of lottery. What about a party where you have to find the person with the matching button. The Button Vending Machine keeps the mix random.
How do I promote my website or business with a Button Vending Machine.
Depends on your business ….. but let’s say you have a bicycle store for example. Come up with 5 or 10 slogans about cycling. I love my bike! Cyclists do it better! Watch for cyclists! etc. Make some cool designs, add a button or magnet business card so there are 2 buttons in the capsule. Get a Button Vending Machine with a $1 mechanism and set it up in your cycle shop. Your customers will like the slogan, buy the button and take home your business card for the fridge. If it cost a $1 they will appreciate it – If you give them away we all know how many end up in the garbage! Entertain your customers AND promote your business. The $1 coins will pay for the buttons and the machine in no time. This method can be adapted to almost ANY BUSINESS and it works.