Monday, August 30, 2010

Coupon dispensing machine business idea

I was in China for my graduation trip when I saw this particular machine dispensing deals via coupons on food/clothes/products etc. It has taken off in China but somehow no one has brought it into Singapore yet. Personally I find the idea very lucrative as I did a mini business plan with a few friends including asking around for potential investors. However I regret to say that nothing has been done as everyone that I talked too would like to concentrate on their jobs.

Nonetheless, here is the idea that I would like to share and maybe someone will actually do it? All the best to the person! 
 Sample picture of the machines (from 
  • Build a machine that dispenses vouchers from merchants in the proximity to passersby, so that they will be enticed to visit these shops.
  • Charged the merchants for advertising on your machine
  • Over time, create a profile list of the users of these machines and more revenue can be gained for being able to target specific groups of people
Why I think it will work
  • At least for people my age group, we tend to meet at a certain MRT station first before actually deciding what to eat. Because some people in a group will  definitely be earlier than the rest, he can go take a look at the machine and decide what's having a promotion and propose to the group.
  • Singaporeans are price conscious
  • Putting these machines at MRTs is essentially targeting the middle/lower class people who will be more likely to be price conscious
  • Even if people do not use the vouchers, by having people looking at the machine and the respective merchants on it, advertising is essentially done already
  • It has been proven that coupons dispensed on these machines have a higher conversion rate as to those given by via pamphlets. (source from the China company)
Rough costing
  • 1 x MRT panel in City hall per month is approx SGD400
  • 15 merchants per machine, each paying SGD500/mth (Presently in China, some merchants pay up to SGD800) = SGD7,500
So as in you can see, even with other costs, the potential returns are huge! If you put it at the major heartland malls where aunties/students should be a hit! 

Potential problems/Solution

  • Low barrier of entry. Essentially a big company like JCDecaux can just come in and build a similar machine beside yours and outlast you as they have more capital. Hence I propose teaming up with another big player in order to allow the company to be sustainable in the long term.
  • Looking for merchants to partner up with will be a problem. But I propose that we can team up with 'The passion card'. Personally I do not think their card is as widely used as expected (I might be wrong), but essentially partnering with them would give a greater backing and also a list of their existing client. This is also good for them, as it will help promote the use of their card. (The china company actually issues membership card that can be used with the machine. Passion card can be promoted via this means too)

Here is the link to an online article too. Click here

Feel free to comment/email me to exchange ideas and views.


Anonymous said...

Hi, i wish to start a website

the website will feature charities organisation in singapore or around the world.

it will show pictures, videos of who they are and what they do.

so when people visit the website they will know about these charities and if they can intersted they can join them to help as well.

do you think this is feeasable??

ntuchartist said...

hmm apparently someone has booked the domain already, unless you are the one who did it.

I personally think it's a good idea. You will not profit very much from it, but I think this idea will benefit many charities and people out there.

This is because, when I was having my post graduation break a while back, I as thinking of doing some charitiy work but am unable to find a reliable online source. So having an updated/hassle free website would be good. But most importanly, the site should make it easy for people to volunteer. Event base charity work will be better for people for with only a short period of free time, for exmaple university students on summer vacation as oppose to those that require 1-2 years of commitment.

Anonymous said...

i think the website can be

you know where to register the website??

profit is not important most important the thing can work and substain.

do you know of people who are interested to join this project as well??

thank you

ntuchartist said...

yeah..actually i have people who are just interested in doing this but not people who can commit full time, which is essential for the idea to succeed, or even to get the required funding from angel investors.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for your help.

How can I contact the people who are interested??

ntuchartist said... will have to go through me..or you can try starting out on your own with this idea. Drop me an email at if you wld like to discuss more about it..


Now thats an interesting idea.