How Vending Operators Can Leverage Technology
Are you curious how you, the vending operator, can leverage technology into your vending business? There was standing room only at the 2012 NAMA OneShow in Las Vegas to hear the four panelists explain where things are going.
Chuck Reed, of MEI: “If your machines can take only $1 bills, you’re missing sales.” Currently, cash is used for 50% of small transactions; debit and credit combined represent about 30%. “You can’t force a patron to use one or the other.”
MEI is the industry leader in providing bill recyclers, a device that accepts larger bill denominations and utilizes $1 bills to replenish a reserve. Studies have shown that bill recyclers increase sales per vending machine.
Anant Agrawal of Cantaloupe Systems: “The Cantaloupe Systems principal envisions a not-so-distant future in which someone can tell his or her smartphone, ‘I want a Mountain Dew,’ and the instrument will display vending machines and other retail outlets in the vicinity. The thirsty consumer will go to the nearest machine, tap the phone on the card reader, and receive the drink — plus loyalty points and a discount on a Frito-Lay snack.” All this new technology will make it easier for the vending operator.
Michael Lawlor of USA Technologies: USA Technologies maintains a knowledge base that keeps track of overall card sales through ePort-equipped vending machines. Michael said 21% of card sales were for products costing less than $1, and 34% for items priced above $2. He recommends that operators need to raise vend prices, he predicted that consumers are more likely to choose the cashless option for higher-ticket sales if that option is available to them.
Chris Lilly of Best Vendors and chairs NAMA’s Vending Data Interchange Committee: “Most of you are not software engineers,” Lilly said, “but you want your systems to work together, to pass ‘messages’ back and forth.” The VDI standards describe protocols for those systems.