August 16, 2019

Partner ActivaMente Develops Smart Way to Leverage Product Sampling

Written By: Angie Pascale

Product sampling is not a new tactic. Brands have been providing free trials and samples in an effort to win over potential customers for centuries. To engage consumers, P&G gives away several hundred million free sample products every year. However, recent access to consumer data and behaviors has allowed brands to make samples more relevant and personalized to each consumer. Amazon is taking full advantage of this by allowing brands to send free products to unsuspecting customers using their wealth of data. 

Leveraging Amazon’s data is one way to reach new customers with samples. But Partner ActivaMente in Mexico City has another, more intimate and engaging way --smart vending machines. 

ActivaMente launched an Internet of Things platform that allows brands to interact with customers in the physical realm, all the while introducing consumers to new products, building loyalty and gathering invaluable consumer data. Offered under the DBA Nimanic, existing vending machines are accessed through an app they created. Consumers can redeem or purchase items using the app, without needing to have cash or other payment methods on hand. 

No brands like to give away free products, and with Nimanic, “free” is a term used loosely. Because while customers don’t necessarily have to cough up money for a product, they do have to provide something. Maybe it’s posting a photo on their social media profile, maybe it’s giving some feedback to the brand, maybe it’s signing up for a newsletter. Consumers may also perform a micro job, like downloading an app or answering a survey from which they can earn money to be used at the vending machine. 

Consumers not only get no-cost product samples for trial, they also benefit from cashless payments to buy products on the vending machine, get product and nutritional information at their fingertips, and can provide instant feedback such as requests, suggestions or complaints.

Customers can view additional information about products from the Nimanic app.

Consumers aren’t the only ones to benefit with Nimanic’s smart vending machines. Brands and vending operators also come out on top. Brands of course get smart sampling opportunities, as well as mobile engagement, deep consumer insights, real-time analytics and big data about machine and product usage, and direct consumer feedback through a personalized  form before or after getting their product. 

Vending operators benefit from increased traffic and promotion, additional payment methods, consumer loyalty, and the ability to optimize machine planograms, product pricing, inventories and logistics. It’s a win-win-win for all parties!

Several of ActivaMente’s clients are taking advantage of this marketing and smart technology convergence. 

Grupo Bimbo, world’s largest baking company, wanted to activate their Canelitas Tentación cookies in Mexican markets. Leveraging the Nimanic smart vending machines and app software, they asked consumers to complete a survey with 11 questions which earned them a free sample of the snack, while the brand secured more than 5000 survey responses. Through the direct feedback provided by consumers, Bimbo learned that 81% were trying the product for the first time and 96% intended to purchase in the future. 

Along with this behavioral data, Bimbo also learned other product affinities, online interests, customer habits and social media usage data, helping them refine campaigns and targeting for other marketing efforts. During the promotion, the Canelitas Tentación product rotated three times faster than their most popular product, Coke, and income from the promotion surpassed overall sales from some of the machines. Additionally, vending machine profitability increased 40%, benefiting the vending operators as well. 


PepsiCo is another company utilizing the Nimanic technology and services. The corporation has installed Nimanic on its own vending machines and its brands have used the platform to activate new products and gain valuable consumer insights. Using telemetry, big data and predictive algorithms Nimanic is also telling PepsiCo’s vending operations exactly how many of each product in their vending machines will have to be replenished on the next visit, improving availability, cutting servicing times by almost half and optimizing its inventories and logistics to maximize their profitability.

To start expanding their network into the USA, Nimanic has recently signed an agreement with the second largest vending machine manufacturer U-Select-It. The company has teamed with Nimanic to offer the technology integrated directly on their vending machine controllers so all of their customers can benefit from the platform factory-preinstalled.

Nimanic’s smart vending machine technology is a unique way to reach and engage consumers, create brand and product loyalty, increase sales, and obtain invaluable insights about consumers. If you’re interested in collaborating with ActivaMente on this innovative vending machine marketing technology for your clients, please contact Eve Riley at to coordinate.

Written By: Angie Pascale