The Cashless Vending Revolution
The reason vending machines appeal to so many of us is because of the convenience it offers at all hours of the day. Vending machines are strategically placed in areas where consumers need quick and easy access to a product at the right time. All that’s required is some cash at hand to purchase exactly what’s needed. Can it get more convenient than that? It appears there’s a trend that’s increasing in popularity that will take vending machine convenience to the next level.
In a digital era, more and more we find that our transactions are less cash-focused. Many people find the hassle and risk of carrying lots of cash to be an inconvenience and choose instead to make payments through digital channels. In the minds of many, vending machines and cash go hand in hand. Well, some revolutionary cashless vending machines are on the increase and as this practice increases, our perceptions of vending machines may change forever.
We’ve mentioned the hassle and risk of carrying cash. As consumers become more weary of having cash on hand, vending machines end up losing out on sales. Cashless forms of payment are a no-brainer to make it easier for consumers and help vending machine operators become more profitable. Consumers are given more convenience and flexibility to use any form of payment at vending locations and vending operators are guaranteed a steady flow of sales. The options of debit and credit card purchases have now become a reality and in areas where this innovation has been implemented sales are up and consumer satisfaction is too. The era of the smart vending machine has arrived.
Through some market research carried out by Pepsi, it estimates that by 2018 an approximate 2 million smart vending machines will exist in the U.S. To boost sales, vending companies are installing new machines that accept credit cards and mobile payments and feature digital screens, video cameras and smartphone charging stations. Professor Michael Kasavana of Michigan State University who studies self-service technology says, “Machines that accept plastic can lift sales 25 percent to 30 percent. Revenue per transaction can rise 15 – 20 percent when the machines can prompt consumers to buy a Snickers bar along with their bag of Doritos”.
The vending machine has been around for a very long time. The popularity of the concept remains, but the features and sophistication of the machines change with the times. We are now in a period where hard cash is not ideal for consumers to carry around. As other areas of our lives move toward a more integrated digital environment, vending machines seem to be following the trend. It’s only a matter of time before this becomes ‘the new normal’. The methods of payment may change, but vending machines are here to stay.
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