At ACN Vending, they are fans of the LockBlox, the unmanned vending solution for farms and growers. This is hardly surprisingly because during its development, the leading vending supplier gave a great deal of input to Innovend based on its knowledge and experience. This was successful since ACN Vending sells quite a few of these popular modular locker vending machines every year.

‘A close relationship and good cooperation with the manufacturer is important. This way, the vending machines are continuously improved and we can respond to customer requests,’ says Eric Seijger. He is managing director and owner of the ACN Group, for which his parents laid the foundations in 1965.

It started back then with the sale of cigarette vending machines. Today, the family business is one of the largest independent suppliers in the Netherlands, specializing in coffee vending machines and all kinds of vending machines from various manufacturers. Sales are combined with a nationwide service.

An important segment is farm vending machines, which farmers and growers use to sell their fresh produce directly to consumers.

Flexible and innovative

Cooperation with Innovend originated in 2016. Eric: ‘The manufacturer we used to work with did not respond to our customers’ wishes. That’s why we started looking for an alternative. We found that in Innovend, who are actually flexible and innovative. They respond quickly and understand what our customers value.’

This resulted in a sophisticated modular system, which allows  farmers to start with a small LockBlox and easily expand it later by adding new modules. This enables them to make their own locker vending machine.

Advance

You can choose between an unrefrigerated version, Smart, and a refrigerated one, Breeze. These can also be combined. ‘That makes it possible to sell fruit and vegetables as well as fresh milk, honey and meat,’ says Eric. ‘They are also used for flowers and even syrup waffles,’ adds account manager Twan ten Elsen.

Private sales by farmers and growers are on the rise. Consumers increasingly want local products: fresh, from the source and at a fair price. Thanks to Innovend’s unmanned solutions, agricultural entrepreneurs skip the distributor and can generate additional sales, but without much extra work.

Customizable touchscreen

A very user-friendly touchscreen allows customers to choose and pay for products. For the payment method, the owner can choose cash, debit card (PIN), credit card, contactless and, recently, payment by QR code.

‘That touchscreen offers the farmer many possibilities to customize it to his own liking: prices, products, images, you name it,’ Eric says in  explanation of  the LockBlox’s success. ‘You can order the vending machine in many versions and sizes, with small and large lockers. Innovend is very flexible with that.’

Start small and expand

‘Because you can start with a small LockBlox, no big investment is needed,’ says Twan. ‘This allows the customer to experience if and how it works and, if their sales are successful, expand further. You’re always on the right track.’

With the online platform Vending Web, developed by Innovend itself, owners can manage LockBlox from anywhere via their PC, tablet or smartphone. Twan: ‘You have the information you need at your fingertips: from stock to sales per product and from orders to transactions.’ Especially at an unmanned point of sale, it is important to keep your finger on the pulse this way.