Google Maps Platform
Vagabond’s journey to transforming vending services with Google Maps Platform
Editor’s note: Today’s post comes from Michael Lovett, CEO of Vagabond. Vagabond is committed to changing how the convenience services industry manages and delivers products and engages with end-consumers.
At Vagabond we’re rethinking the convenience services industry by helping vending machine operators more effectively manage their businesses and increase profitability, so they have more free time to spend with their families. We also provide a way to connect directly with consumers through our viv payments platform which allows consumers to purchase items through their mobile devices and gives vending machine operators visibility into the exact items a consumer is most likely to purchase.
Vagabond started as a small piece of mobile software that was helping my partner and I operate our own vending machines. We were a small vending operator with only about 10 vending machines at various locations. From the very beginning, we felt like it was an industry where there was a great opportunity for a little bit of technology to go a long way to impact the people working in it. With the assistance of some partners that were helping us build some prototype technologies, we could determine where to go and what to bring to each account without physically going out to each machine.
Prior to Vagabond, a vending or foodservice operator would need to service hundreds of machines across different locations with no visibility into what’s selling or what products are still available in the machine.
When we started building Vagabond, we needed a mapping platform that could complement our powerful web and mobile ERP tools so that we could deliver that live data, routing, and scheduling technology into the hands of the operators, managers, and drivers. Google Maps Platform just made sense for our technology platform and our customers. Most of these businesses have been operating for 30 or 40 years. It's a big change for them to use technology and devices as opposed to the way they've been doing it for the last three to four decades. When we built Vagabond and incorporated Google Maps Platform, we wanted it to be extremely simple for them to use with a user interface they already know and use in their personal lives. For us, we knew that Google Maps has the most accurate, rich location data to surface through our platform and would be recognized by everyone we work with.
Since we founded Vagabond, we’ve been able to expand our business to include a full-service payments platform as well as micro-markets which offer an open, unattended (self-service) experience for consumers and a meaningful, revenue-generating business line for our vending operators. One of the things that I'm excited about is enabling operators to really make that deep personal retail connection with consumers and improve their lives during the day so hopefully they can be happier more productive workers.
These technologies built with Vagabond's mobile and web applications and Google's mapping technology enable us to do that.
This is our journey with Google Maps Platform.