Marci Weisler (no relation, though we tried to figure it out), chief commercial officer, Vengo Labs, works for a company billed as a “retail and marketing tech company that is reimagining how brands connect with consumers.”
Marci noted that this technology “bridges the gap between digital and real world experiences by combining retail with DOOH media and product sampling.”
Vengo is actually a network of over 1,200 mini interactive digital vending machines at gyms, hotels, colleges and corporate locations in major DMAs. Future plans include expanding into retail stores. The company offers consumers the ability to sample products from the personal tech (headphones and chargers) and beauty and wellness categories, along with CPG and non-perishable food.
According to Marci, the data Vengo collects is opt-in via consumer interactions with surveys and quizzes, also the collection of emails and/or phone numbers on a campaign-by-campaign basis.
The “cloud-based Vengo Information Portal (VIP) tracks retail (product inventory, sales),
all media (impressions delivered, screen interactions) and sampling campaigns (samples vended, opt-ins),” she explained.
While Marci believes that Vengo is unique in
the combination of retail, DOOH media and trackable product sampling, its competitive set varies by product category:
“Vengo meets consumers at contextually relevant times in their day, aligning product availability with the time they need them most,” she noted. “For example, in the gym locker room they can purchase headphones or trial a new beauty product, while seeing an ad for a new wellness supplement. We are also working with retailers to enhance the in-store experience and drive engagement at the point of sale.”
Vengo is also going cross-platform with connections to mobile devices through geo-fencing as well as marketing initiatives such as mobile coupon codes redeemable at Vengo, or sampling opportunities that require taking a quiz and giving your email address to get a free sample -- which can then result in another coupon code to use for next retail purchase of the product.
Still, with a big hardware component, there are challenges for expanding the network (as opposed to building traffic to a web site or mobile app), “but now that our network has surpassed over 1,200, we are ramping quickly," Marci said. "We also have a size constraint since our machines are compact and take only two square feet of wall space, but our ex-aerospace engineering team has maximized the ability to put a high quantity of product into a small space.”
And what she terms as,“critically interesting” is Vengo’s ability to “tie attribution to sampling, which never existed before. For that reason we got a major investment from Arcade Beauty, the world's leading manufacturer of beauty samples, and we’re working to reimagine the space for brands and for retailers. We've got some exciting campaign results,” to be released in the possible future.