Category Archives: Vending Industry News

The Road to Cashless Vending

Over the years, we have seen an increase in cashless vending. From PayRange to Greenlite, there are numerous cashless payment options that users are taking advantage of. In fact, a study done by Michigan State University found that by adding a cashless device on low-performing vending machines (machines bringing in less than $2,000 per year), sales grew by 110% on average after 18 months of deployment. 

Adding a cashless device, such as Greenlite, not only contributes to an increase in cashless sales, but it can also lead to an increase in cash sales. According to the same study, adding a cashless device on low-performing machines increased cash sales by 97% after 18 months of deployment. These results show that by adding a cashless device to your machine, operators have a better insight on what consumers crave and can meet that need.

With Greenlite cashless, customers have the ability to pay with Google Pay, Apple Pay or credit/debit cards, but this device also benefits the operator in a number of ways. With Greenlite, you are able to reach more customers by offering both cash and cashless payment options. You will never lose out on a sale due to cash acceptance issues again. 

Greenlite gives operators access to a number of reports, so you have the ability to give customers what they truly crave. These reports also tell operators when inventory is running low, saving you time and money from making unnecessary trips to your machine. No matter where you are located, you can manage your vending equipment directly from your mobile device.

Cashless vending is something that not only caters to your customers but caters to you, the operator, as well. To find out more about Greenlite, please contact us by calling 888-836-3638.

A Simple Way to Increase User Experience

As with many things, the technology on vending equipment is always evolving. If you are not willing to keep up with it, you are doing your customers and your business a huge disservice. For example, by utilizing a touch screen display instead of a keypad, you are not only increasing the user experience, but you are making it easier for yourself to set up your vending equipment. Watch the video below to see how an interactive screen is engaging to your customers.

Technology is always changing and it is your job as a vending machine owner to change with it. For more information on the latest in vending technology, give us a call at 888-836-3638.

Vending Machines – A Controlled, Safe Method to Provide Food and Beverages to Consumers – Part 4

Reducing COVID-19 Exposure Risk with Contactless Payments

Previously, we delved into why vending is the ultimate solution in the convenience services industry in Part I, finding the right product to keep your vending machines disinfected and safe for your customers to use in Part II and best practices to properly clean your machine in Part III. In this final installment, we will focus on why cashless payment options are more important now than ever before.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is possible for a person to contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or their eyes.  Potentially contaminated surfaces and objects that pose as infection risks include dollar bills and coins. 

When it comes to the potential spread of COVID-19 through currency, some countries are taking an aggressive approach to reducing the risk of currency spreading COVID-19. China, for example, has been quarantining the country’s cash. The government collected banknotes and then sanitized the stacks of bills. From there, the currency was kept in isolation for 7-14 days before being released into the banking system. 

While the United States has taken similar measures on currency that has come from Asia, steps such as those taken in China have not been taken on a widespread basis in the US. Even so, as consumer behavior changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we expect to see an acceleration in the already growing trend of cashless as consumers’ payment preference of choice in vending.  

Recognizing the risk of COVID-19 exposure through surfaces and objects, many operators are being proactive in reducing the risk to consumers by ensuring their vending equipment is cleaned and sanitized on a more frequent basis and updating their fleets with cashless card readers.

“We see the cashless payment trend increasing, even while the crisis is happening, with a shift towards the use of contactless transactions.  The ability to offer cashless payment capabilities encourages consumer confidence,” said Carly Furman, CEO of Nayax LLC.

While the COVID-19 crisis is sure to bring unseen changes to the convenience services industry, we believe there is an underlying, long-term opportunity for operators.  The current crisis may increase the growing share of cashless transactions in vending, resulting in increasing operators’ profits. In fact, in a study done of 250,000 machines over an 18-month period, the number of total transactions increased by 26% on machines that allow for cashless payments. 

According to the same study, there is a 37% increase in dollar spend when customers pay with a card versus cash. Customers are more inclined to purchase more than one item from the machine, simply because it is so easy to swipe their card. Although mobile payments only account for 5-7% of payments, that number is estimated to grow during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, as people are looking to move away from making contact payments, such as cash.  Apple Pay and Google Pay use near-field communication (NFC) to power contactless payments. With NFC, consumers simply tap their phone to a compatible terminal such as a Greenlite device and the transaction is complete. 

This is an unprecedented time for all of us, meaning that we have to adjust to the way we live our lives and operate our businesses. Adding a cashless card reader, such as Greenlite ensures you will not miss out on a sale due to payment acceptance limitations while providing a safe, contactless payment option for consumers. It also keeps you safe by providing you with access to inventory reports, maximizing machine fulfillment when it is needed.

For any questions regarding safe practices for your vending business or information about your vending equipment, contact Vendnet at 1-888-836-3638.

Vending Machines – A Controlled, Safe Method to Provide Food and Beverages to Consumers – Part III

Best Practices for Cleaning and Disinfecting Vending Machines

Previously, we delved into why vending is the ultimate solution in the convenience services industry in Part I and finding the right product to keep your vending machines disinfected and safe for your customers to use in Part II. Part III of our four-part series will provide best practices to properly clean your machine, without causing damage to the equipment.

While Vendnet recommends soapy water for cleaning and disinfecting vending equipment, the choice is up to you.  Regardless of what type of cleaner you choose, here are some Best Practices for Cleaning Vending Equipment.

  • Recommended supplies:
    • Disposable non-linting cloths (‘contact’, ‘non-contact’ & ‘external’)
    • Clean disposable gloves
    • Plastic scraper
    • Spray bottle w/ cleaning solution
    • Glass cleaner or similar for cleaning the window
  • Ensure the machine is Switched OFF before completing any cleaning tasks.
  • Do not apply or spray the soapy water solution directly onto surfaces that could or might leak directly onto electrical components such as the keypad or touch screen.  Where this is a possibility the soapy water should be applied to a ‘clean’ cloth which then should be used to wipe the surface to be sanitized.

Why do I need three separate cleaning cloths?  The ‘contact’ cloth should be used on areas of the machine that come into contact with areas of consumer interaction.  The ‘non-contact’ cloth should be used on internal areas of the machine. The ‘external’ cloth should be used on all external surfaces with the exception of areas of the machine that are exposed to consumer interactions.

Some Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Do not use metal scrapers
  • Do not put any of the machine’s internal parts on the floor
  • Do not take water for cleaning from a toilet area
  • Always wear protective gloves
  • Always use the correct cleaning agent for the application and follow the manufacturer’s instructions

In many grocery and retail stores, it is commonplace to see self-serve sanitizing wipes for customers to use.  To help ensure your equipment stays clean and provide peace of mind to consumers, if possible, provide sanitizing wipes at or near your equipment. 

As with all individuals working in convenience services in a food-handling role, an operator who is suffering any form of illness should inform their supervisor and not perform any work sanitizing the vending equipment. 

Safe sanitation is crucial now more than ever for your vending equipment. For more information on best practices to sanitize your vending equipment or other equipment questions, please contact Vendnet at 888-836-3638.

With consumers using cashless often due to sanitary concerns, Part IV focuses on why cashless payment options are more important than ever. Check back soon to view Part IV.

Vending Machines – A Controlled, Safe Method to Provide Food and Beverages to Consumers – Part II

What Products Are Recommended to Safely Clean and Disinfect Vending Equipment?

Previously, we delved into why vending is the ultimate solution in the convenience services industry in Part I.  Part II of our four-part series will provide guidance on finding the right cleaning agent to keep your vending equipment disinfected and safe for your customers to use.

As communicated by the European Vending Association, even with the secured product control offered by vending, it is extremely important to clean and disinfect vending equipment often, especially considering the current health crisis due to COVID-19.  Fortunately, the cleaning and disinfecting process for vending equipment is easy and cost-effective. All components on vending equipment, including electronics, keypads, plastic surfaces, and glass surfaces, can be effectively cleaned and disinfected with warm, mild soapy water.

Why is soap so effective against bacteria and viruses, such as the Coronavirus?  Soap is comprised of two-sided molecules. One side is attracted to water; the other side is attracted to fat. Viruses, such as the Coronavirus, are comprised of material surrounded by a coating of proteins and fat. When viruses interact with soap, the soap molecules rip that fat coating out. Soap literally demolishes viruses in as little as 20 seconds.  To learn more about why soap is Vendnet’s preferred cleaning and disinfectant agent, check out National Geographic’s article Why soap is preferable to bleach in the fight against the coronavirus.

There are commercial-grade cleaning and disinfectant options such as Kay 5 Chlorinating Sanitizer, which is highly effective against bacteria and fungus, and is used primarily for kitchen equipment, soft serve and shake machines and kitchen utensils.  Another option is PURELL® Foodservice Surface Sanitizer, an EPA registered multi-surface sanitizer/disinfectant approved for use on food-contact surfaces with no-rinse required and is currently registered in all 50 states.

If you choose to use a commercial-grade product, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Never mix these products with ammonia or any other cleanser. Also, check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date.  Expired products will likely not be as effective against coronaviruses. You can view all EPA approved disinfectants against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19 HERE.

For more information on best practices to sanitize your vending equipment or other equipment questions, please contact Vendnet at 888-836-3638. 

How should you go about cleaning your vending machine? Check back later to find out in Part III.

Vending Machines – A Controlled, Safe Method to Provide Food and Beverages to Consumers – Part I

Why Vending is the Ultimate Controlled Dispensing Solution for the Convenience Services Industry

As organizations modify their operations and procedures to best keep employees and customers safe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping across our nation and the world, the need to safely provide food and beverage options remains critical.  

According to the National Merchandising Association (NAMA), “Through our unique food distribution system, our industry can be the greatest source of “contactless” nourishment to over 40 million consumers with food and beverages daily, and it is all accomplished in an unattended retail environment, often with round the clock availability.”

Federal and State governments, along with the CDC, are encouraging social distancing, including reducing or eliminating face-to-face encounters with alternative options such as contactless delivery and self-serve options.  In workplaces, this includes re-evaluating how food and beverages are offered to employees. For example, in the past weeks, many organizations have shuttered cafeterias to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 Recently the NIH and CDC released information on the Coronavirus’ lifespan on surfaces.

  • Airborne: 30 minutes to 3 hours
  • Cardboard: 24 hours
  • Stainless Steel: 2 days
  • Plastic: 3 days

These guidelines have prompted many organizations to further re-evaluate self-serve convenience service options deployed in their organizations such as unattended retail markets.  The risks in these applications is that the food and beverage products are not controlled in such that consumers can pick-up products and return them to the shelves for the next consumer to handle.  With COVID-19 having up to a three-day lifespan on items such as bottled beverages and clamshell salad containers, unattended retail applications may pose a risk of being a spreading point within organizations.

Unlike unattended retail markets where consumers can access and return the food and beverage products, vending requires consumers to purchase the product(s) before the consumer is able to touch the product(s).  Just think in a micro market setting how many people before you may have picked up that plastic bottled beverage or salad in a plastic clamshell before you and put it back on the shelf.  

Besides the product itself having the opportunity to be handled by multiple people in a micro market application, another consideration is the cleanliness of micro market hardware itself.  For example, when consumers access products in micro markets they often come in contact with shelving holding the product. You have risk of direct exposure on the shelf itself, as well as transfer exposure from the product.  Being full secured access, this is not a concern or risk when it comes to vending, as only the operator has access to the interior of the machine including the shelving.

Vending offers the ultimate secured access solution and allows organizations to safely provide employees and consumers with food and beverage products, with little to no risk of contamination from numerous other individuals handling the product.

According to the European Vending Association, “Vending machines are a reliable and safe way to obtain food and beverages. Vending machine operators place food safety as top priority in their daily service, and are trained in protection against infections. During the current health crisis, operators have also put in place measures to ensure that the disinfection of machine surfaces is also carried out as regularly as possible.

For more information or other equipment questions, please contact Vendnet at
1-888-836-3638. 

What products are recommended to safely clean and disinfect vending equipment? Check back soon to find out in Part II.

The Greenlite Cashless Solution

In this tech-first society, it’s critical to accommodate the growing need for cashless operating systems for your customers. Credit card purchases have almost fully eclipsed cash purchases, and it’s crucial for you to update purchasing options across all areas of your business to keep up with customer demand and the competitive business climate. This rings particularly true for vending machines.

Vending machines have long been associated with fishing through your pockets for spare change – that ends today! VendNet USA is pleased to offer the Greenlite cashless solution to bring your business up-to-date in the credit-first world. Other than the obvious benefit of allowing customers to make vending machine purchases with their cards instead of cash, there are several other benefits of placing the Greenlite apparatus on your compatible machines:

  • The machine is completely secure: no chance of hard cash theft
  • 24/7 management capability: from any location.
  • Machine sales tracking: what items are doing well and should be restocked? What items should you no longer order?
  • Integrated cash and cashless reporting: get up-to-date reports of cash AND cashless inflow
  • Alerts for machine health and status: Is your machine experiencing difficulties? You’ll know right away.
  • Daily bank deposits: receive your daily cash into your account immediately!

…and more.

Interested in the Greenlite Cashless system? We’d be pleased to walk you through additional benefits, pricing, installation and more! Get in touch with our team today.

Newsline 2017: Healthy Vending Machine Trends

As one of the premier vending machine repair, parts, and service sites, VendNetUSA looks at a lot of vending machines. That gives us the unique position to be able to see what types of products and trends are showing up, often before any individual vendor notices the change in their sales analysis. The current uptick in health food items has been developing over a few years, but is really entering a whole new level of demand. There are three specific trends to follow closely this year and implement in your vending machine business.

  • Fresher Options. Even with the new wave of vending machines that make drinks and snacks to order, or offer frozen or refrigerated options, customers are looking for snack items that have less processing, fewer additives, and provide more macronutrients. Vendors cannot simply offer Red Delicious apples; consumers want fruits, nuts, smoothies, and even more exotic whole food options like edamame or even salads.
  • Balanced Choices. Beyond fresh whole food selections, customers are also seeking more balanced and nutritious options, particularly in the form of various protein, health, and granola bars. Vending machines have rapidly shifted from being a semi-reliable source of junk food to a normalized font of wholesome snacks.
  • Free Selections. By no means are we advocating a profitless sales system. Instead, -free refers to the trend of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and other -free classifications of health foods consumers are looking for in their vending goodies. We have found that numbers of customers with dietary needs have risen astronomically over the past three to five years and continues to climb, unabated.  Providing reasonable refreshment and even treats to these special classifications of buyers allows vendors to capture whole new markets–buyers who previously couldn’t utilize vending machines as a reasonable source of nutrition.

Vending machines started in the 1880’s as a way of dispensing novelties, and only later transitioned into providing drinks and sustenance. When they proliferated in the middle of the last century, vending machines acquired a reputation as a quick and dirty way to grab a bite, but without any healthful benefits. It is now our turn to change the messaging behind the machines from pre-packaged candies to nutritious, delicious, and specialized selections for every consumer. To learn more about VendNet USA’s vending machine repair, parts, and services, please visit our website or blog.

 

The Top 4 Tips for Opening a New Vending Location

What does it take for a vending location to succeed; that is, to create and sustain sales? Having the right location isn’t the only factor, though it does help. Having a terrific product is also helpful, but that alone won’t guarantee growth.  The newest, flashiest machines with the latest technology can also be a draw. Having a dedicated and professional staff for vending machine repair and maintenance is also important. Ultimately, a successful vending location has all these and more. Neglecting even one area may result in failure. Here are our tips, garnered from years of achievement and profit with vending machines.

  • Have a well researched location to meet your needs. Whether your business model is focused on a high traffic area or on repeat business, it’s vital that you know what your business goals are before you select a location, not the other way around.
  • Offer the best product your customers want. This seems somewhat obvious, but there is a subtle difference between the best products your customers want and the best products available. Knowing your consumer base, their spending habits, and their shopping predilections can prevent you from making an inconvenient and costly mistake in stock.
  • Take advantage of technology, not the other way around. From cash-free payment options to wireless enabled stocking and sales stats, the amount of data available to a vending machine operator is greater than any other time in history. Getting bogged down in this much information is a real concern, as is trying to launch fancy technological advances in locations that may not have the right user base.
  • Maintenance saves money. While every item we own may break at some point in its life, the value of preventive vending machine repair and maintenance cannot be overstated here. A broken machine is at best a fancy column to lean on, and at worst can actually cut into your bottom line.

Ultimately, your success, achievements, and profit as a vending machine owner or operator is limited only by the amount of research, diligence, and elbow grease you are willing to put in. That’s part of what makes vending machines such an appealing line of business–the ability to dictate your own business and results.

Vending Goes Mobile

It’s clear to see how new technologies and mobile devices have become fully embedded into our current society.  With nearly two thirds of Americans owning smartphones and thousands of apps available for facilitating day to day activities, it’s time to look at how the vending machine industry can capitalize on this growing trend.  

Research conducted by USA Technologies on the use of Apple Pay in vending machines suggests consumers are more likely to not only make a purchase, but also more likely to spend more on their purchase if the technology is available.  

The study found that after 24 weeks there was a 36.5% increase in overall sales and a 55.5% increase in revenue.  As more and more businesses begin to implement these mobile technologies, Apple Pay and other smartphone technologies will soon become the norm for transaction payments.

Vendors should consider mobile payment for the following advantages inherent in its use:

  • Ease to use. Smart technologies are designed to be intuitive. Apple Pay interfaces are easy to use, and not just for individuals who are familiar with Apply products.
  • Security of transactions. Beyond convenience, there is a growing need for increased security in transaction payments.  After multiple incidents of credit card breaches and fraud, it is incredibly important for customers to feel safe when making a purchase.  Apple Pay provides consumers a secure method of payment designed by a brand they know and trust.
  • Convenience in a busy world. We live in a time where convenience is the number one priority for consumers.  With the growing amount of options, if a customer is not able to find that convenience with your company they will just go somewhere else that can.  It has become absolutely crucial in the business world to keep up with trending technologies.

With the obvious financial success and increased customer satisfaction, mobile payment is the next step for the vending machine. Visit our website to learn more about vending machine repair, maintenance, and upgrades.