Vitamin vending machines hit Australia

Source: Vitamin Warehouse

People can purchase vitamins, perfumes, medicines, soft drink and more from vending machines that have opened in Melbourne

A group called Vitamin Warehouse has installed several vending machines in a shopfront on Fitzroy Street in Melbourne’s St Kilda that are open 24 hours a day, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

The 13 refrigerated vending machines were installed in December, and Vitamin Warehouse Managing Director Hari Shotham says he plans to place thousands more across Australia.

Mr Shotham claims the Fitzroy Street outlet is Australia’s first vending-machine-only shop, and he says each machine is already turning over $1000 a week.

“With a target of 20 machines we are on target to $20,000,” he told the publication.

“Vitamin Warehouse is disrupting the vitamins and health supplements industry by installing 10,000 state of the art refrigerated vending machines with a built-in 46 inch interactive computer screen,” says Mr Shotham.

These screens allow “the purchase of over 1,000 products of Swisse, Blackmores, Nature’s Own, Healthy Care, Centrum, Herron, Cenovis and every other brand not previously possible in any current pharmacy health food store or supermarket retail outlet.”

“Furthermore instant [access] to any naturopath of the brands available as well as to over 4,000 Australian naturopaths using on-spot interactive chat through our touch screen computer,” he says.

According to Mr Shotham, advanced software allows each Vitamin Warehouse vending machine to ‘report’ directly to their office directly.

The group’s managing director reportedly first started working in the vitamins industry with Chemist Warehouse before being inspired by the vending machines trend in Hong Kong.

He says he is able to undercut pharmacies on price because he spends little on staffing and theft costs.

“The highest problem in pharmacies is everything has to be under lock and key. Theft is a massive problem. In a vending machine you cannot steal,” Mr Shotham told the SMH.

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  1. Tony Pal

    Has any visited the premises. On the news, there was a picture of the shop from across the street and I read the word “Analgesics”. It is illegal to sell more than 2 doses (1g each) of Paracetamol from a vending machine. Did I miss read the shop front or are they stocking analgesics as well?

    • Nicholas Logan

      On the front of the shop it says ANALGESICS with “NON-PRESCRIPTION” in a small font above it.

      • Jarrod McMaugh

        This is close to where I live. Should swing past I guess.

        • Sheshtyn Paola

          Please do – and let us know what you think!

      • James Ip

        Went to see today and it does not look anything like the photos above. Those photos look like a photo-shop mock up.
        The actual store has several regular looking kiosks similar to what you see in shopping centres selling chips and drinks. The kiosks I saw sold a variety of niche products such as headphones, fragrances, condoms, pet food, drinks & snacks. I think there was a single line of baby formula but overall there wasn’t much that you would consider medicinal.
        I did not see the vitamin kiosk with the touch screen but I wasn’t able to see the few kiosks at the back of the store.

        Where it is located I can imagine that it’ll appeal to late night party goers and the merchandise reflects this.

        It is a clever idea as a vending machine shop cuts out most of the labour costs which is a substantial expense (similar to all those coin operated laundromats everywhere) but at this stage it is a convenience store (not unlike 24hr 7/11s and servo stations) rather than a health destination.

  2. Jarrod McMaugh

    Mr Shotham is inviting bad luck with his last comment

    A quick Google search…..

  3. Ronky

    “Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 No 31

    Current version for 1 January 2017 to date (accessed 15 February 2017 at 17:02)

    Part 5 Division 1 Section 36

    36 Offence to supply certain substances and goods by automatic machine

    (1) A person who, whether in premises under the person’s control or elsewhere:

    (a) installs an automatic machine for the supply of regulated goods, or

    (b) supplies regulated goods by means of an automatic machine,is guilty of an offence.

    Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.

    (2) A person who occupies or controls premises is guilty of an offence if:

    (a) an automatic machine for the supply of regulated goods is installed on the premises, or

    (b) regulated goods are stored in an automatic machine that is installed on the premises, or

    (c) regulated goods are supplied by means of an automatic machine.

    Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.

    Regulated goods means:

    (a) any substance of a kind specified in a Schedule of the Poisons List, or

    (b) therapeutic goods that are not a substance so specified.”

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