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Live Displays vs. Flat Displays; What Serves You Better?

Live Displays vs. Flat Displays

Live Displays vs. Flat Displays

The debate is practically archaic. Two vendors sit down and one mentions a flat display. The other retorts that a live display is better, and the first retorts the benefits of a flat display. Pretty soon it’ll be a big fight over seemingly nothing- or is there something more to this debate?

To begin, what’s the difference? Well, a “Live” display is a display, usually a plastic package, that displays the actual vended product. An example can be seen HERE. On the converse, a “flat” display is a piece paper or cardboard printed with an image of the product, usually accompanied by some sort of graphics. An example of this can be seen HERE. So, both methods accomplish the same thing, so what’s the big difference?

Well, as shown in Vending Psychology (HERE), the little things can make a world of difference in how your machines perform. Displays are just one more piece of the overall image of the machine, and by optimizing this feature, you can grab more vends. Thus the debate- which is better?

The “live” display has a lot of supporters, and a lot of offerings, including:

  • Displays the actual product (including leader items)
  • Designed to drive sales
  • Products can be (in some cases) removed and sold to cover display cost.
  • Typically more visible than flat displays

The flat display isn’t without a fair share of points though either:

  • Less expensive (even free) compared to a “live” display
  • Also designed to drive sales
  • Takes up less room inside of the machine, allowing more product to be stocked
  • Easily made at home with a  good printer when needed

So, the ultimate answer is… well, there is no “wrong” answer. This is another one of those “how do you want to run YOUR vending route” scenarios. For me, I prefer “live” displays for my 2” capsule machines, as they are seen first and so the extra visibility is warranted. If there’s a “leader” item, I want my customers to know about it from the moment they spot my machine. Also, on the larger machines, the toys usually have a vend value of 50 cents or more, which is worth it to recap them and sell them. On the other hand, for smaller 1” acorn cap machines, I’ll gladly save money with a flat display. I have used “live” displays on these before as well, and they are good, but not really warranted. A flat card for things like “acrylic rings”, “sticky things”, and “bouncy balls” are more than sufficient.

As I said, it really comes down to how you want to run your route, and how you want to carry on into the future. Some prefer the fast and cheap flat displays, while other prefer the “live” displays. There’s no right or wrong way about it!

If you seek answers, guidance, or just want to swap some shop talk, drop on by the Bulk Vending Forum. And as always, good luck!

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