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Nov 1, 2007
by Judi Perkins
For some wholesalers, purchasing from both sites would be applicable. Sam, who owns Sam's Novelties wants to put a gumball machine in his store for people to put money in, and he is also going to stock that machine. Even if he is buying one machine, he would go to Beavervending.com. He would choose from a multitude of different designs for both the machine and its stand. He would phone Beaver Vending to discuss the options and details prior to placing his order. The result would be a custom designed, secure machine.
The units he wants to purchase, stock and sell to consumers he would find at Beavergumballmachine.com. This version comes in one design, is pre-built, and not secure. Sam would still need to call the company because only consumers can purchase through this site.
Beavergumballmachine.com debuted in January 2007, and the entry page cleverly reflects the product. It is a gumball machine, and to enter you click on the turning mechanism that releases the gumball. The lever turns, with the same noises that the real machines make. You are in, landing on a page that introduces you to the quality and history of Beaver products.
Heidi Schwarzli's family has been running Beaver for three generations. Her grandfather, who began it as a die casting business in 1963, expanded into gumball vending when he had the opportunity to purchase some molds, and began building the machines. Her grandfather still has his hands actively in the business; he designs the machines.
"My grandfather really does have vision. He sees designs in so many different things he looks at," said Heidi. She used the Meridian design on their Beavervending.com website as an example. "It has got a very futuristic look. That one came out around the millennium. He had seen a building that was similar, and he thought it would be cool to incorporate that."
They chose their most popular machine to bring consumers their traditional red gumball machine, which also comes in black. They entered this arena because for years they had requests from people who wanted the machines for their home or for gifts, and they realized they were missing a market.
Heidi says the easiest aspect of Beavergumballmachine.com for the wholesale customers is the amount of information on it for the consumers. "Everything the consumer needs is on there," Heidi said. "For our wholesalers, their customers do not need to come back to them to ask a million questions. It has got the operating instructions and maintenance. It has got everything."
This includes providing the solution to the biggest problem Beaver has found to plague consumers: lost keys. On the Accessories page under "Our Products" is the ability to purchase a new key. "We did that," said Heidi, "because it is probably one of the main calls we receive. To help our retailers so they do not have to deal with that, we have put instructions to go to our website to order a new key."
The lock and key are part of the fun. They may look like the real thing, but in reality, said Heidi, "they are all the same, so they are not secure enough to put on display. The consumer keys all have the same number across the world." Nor is the coin mechanism secure. "You could put a piece of cardboard in there, and it would probably go through," said Heidi.
The consumer version comes with or without a stand because some people prefer to set it on their bar top, so the stand is an option. "Not all of our people who have it in their stores buy the stands. A lot of people just purchase the machine. It depends on their clientele." Also optional for wholesalers, is the eight pound box of gumballs. But as Heidi points out, this is available for consumers to purchase on the website, too.
The minimum wholesale order quantity is two machines. But because the site is primarily for consumers, the wholesale link is tough to find. Resellers will find it at the bottom of the Machines page, under the category "Our Products". The flip side of Beavergumballmachine.com's simplicity, is the custom machines found on Beavervending.com, an equally comprehensive and cleverly designed site. It is easy to navigate and an excellent mirror of the Beaver commitment to quality and customer service.
Said Heidi, "It educates. For new people coming into this industry, it can be very confusing. They do not know where to start. They just know they want to do it. So by the time they have been through our website, they generally know what they want, and where they want to go, because it is all there."
Because of their reputation for quality, Beaver Machine deals with over 100 different countries, selling their gumball machines to thousands of companies all over the world. So naturally, they have had a website since the advent of the Internet.
"All of a sudden we were given this opportunity to show people what our machines looked like and not have to mail catalogs and wait three weeks for them to receive it," said Heidi. "Our website is a very large marketing tool for us. We use it to attract customers, but our sales staff uses it constantly to explain things to people and show them how things work. It allows a visual demonstration while you are on the phone."
Each of the units is custom built. This is part of the reason that they are considered the Cadillac of the industry, and the reason a purchase on Beavervending.com cannot be made online. "Our products are in depth. We need to speak with people on the phone, because it depends on what they are going to put in the gumball machine, and what they are going to use it for. There are far too many options," said Heidi.
Their unique and varied designs include fifteen machines and ten different stands, the most popular of which are shown on line. The variety gives the buyer a large number of mix and match options for a single machine. The site shows their specialty units, which include four tower configurations.
What differentiates them from the competition, of which there is very little, is their innovation. Heidi said they are constantly creating new products and more effective ways for their products to work. "Our quality is unsurpassed in the industry, hands down. Beaver Machines are known to last, and they are more expensive than our competitors. We have people operating our machines on location for 35 years," said Heidi.
In contrast to the consumer versions, both the coin mechanisms and the locks on the custom versions are extremely secure. In fact, they are so secure that other companies purchase Beaver's components, especially the coin mechanisms. As Heidi said, "They cannot get the same quality, they cannot figure out how to do it. They trust the Beaver name, and they know it is the most accurate, so they are going to use it."
Beavervending.com provides the names of vending product suppliers, as well as the list of distributors for companies overseas who want to purchase. There is "Alternate Options and Setups", which includes kiosk setups, vendible products, and data tracking devices. The mechanism within the coin mechanism makes it tamperproof, and provides revenue management and route tracking information. The details for all of these categories are on the website.
When it comes to updating their website, Beaver takes the opinion of their customers, whom they consider part of the Beaver family, into consideration. Recently they added the "What's New" page so that customers who repeatedly visit the website can easily spot what has been added to the product line. As it says at the top of the "What's New" page, "You spoke. We listened." Another reason why Beaver is unsurpassed.
For more information contact:
Beaver Machine Corporation
1341 Kerrisdale Blvd.
Newmarket, Ontario Canada L3Y 8Z8
Int'l & Canada: 905-836-4700
USA Toll free: 800-265-6772
Topic: Company Profiles
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