The first time I heard of Vengo was a few weeks ago, following an announcement from the DPAA (Digital Place-Based Advertising Association), and I was surprised to learn about a new type of an interactive kiosk.
Vengo’s wall-mounted vending machines occupy only two square feet of surface and they are just six inches deep. A touchscreen advertises the products that are inside and is also used to perform a credit card purchase. Vengos can dispense tech items such as headphones and chargers, as well as gum, mouthwash, cologne and other ‘convenience’ goods, and they can hold 7-10 days’ worth of product.
The compact size of the sleek high-tech machines allows Vengo to bring the ‘corner store’ to where you are – office buildings, bars, doctor’s offices and even taxi cabs.
The first Vengo unit went into operation in February of 2013 in New York at the Village Pour House near Union Square. It was selling minty gum and mouthwash to people who were socializing.
Today Vengos are in 150 locations that include New York University, Fueled Collective, Yotel, FIT and the IPG Media Lab.
Each machine is customized to its location’s demographics. For example, machines in work spaces sell phone chargers, headphones and USB cords.
From his office in Long Island City, Queens, CEO and Co-Founder Brian Shimmerlik can track purchases to determine which products sell better at which location, and use that data to optimize the inventory flow. Apparently Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, KIND bars and headphones happen to be most popular items among the Millennials these days, Shimmerlik says.
Vengo Inc. derives revenue both from the sale of products through the machines and from the advertising that runs on the screens. In addition to the promotion of the products inside the Vengos, the company sells ad space to third-party advertisers, with big brands like Uber and Hershey among them. “We ran a campaign for Uber allowing users to order a private car from Vengo,” noted the CEO.
Quietly, the connected Vengos are becoming a powerful and targeted digital out-of-home advertising network that grows its reach with every added machine. What I like about this particular network is that advertisers can measure the effectiveness of their campaigns down to the cost-per-interaction and even to the cost-per-transaction, if a purchase takes place. A rare case where impressions, the elusive currency of traditional advertising, really don’t matter all that much, as reported interactions and actual sales take precedence.
Brian Shimmerlik says Vengo Inc. employs ‘an incredible group of engineers’ that spans mechanical, electrical, software and systems expertise. ”We’ve built everything in-house,” he says. “We literally have a warehouse in the Bronx where we have built these things ourselves.”
Vengo Inc. recently partnered with CC Vending, a large vending machine operator in New York, to handle logistics and fulfillment.
The company has expanded from New York to Chicago & Boston and is preparing to launch in a couple more cities by year-end, Shimmerlik says.
In March 2015, Vengo Inc. joined the ranks of the Digital Place-Based Advertising Association– the influential trade organization that represents the interests of digital out-of-home media companies within the advertising community.
To know more, visit Vengo’s web site.