It used to be that not carrying cash was the preserve of royalty and the perpetually hard up. Now it’s the norm for over 50 per cent of us, according to recent research. Sales director for Crane Merchandising Systems, Mike Kane argues that having cashless payment systems in place in your buildings has never been so relevant, particularly when it comes to vending…
Demographic surveys show that we’ve reached an age where younger people, in particular, are becoming less reliant on hard cash and are now embracing payment through new technologies. In fact, a growing number of us, regardless of age, don’t carry any cash at all, never mind the pocketful of change traditionally required for vending machines and parking meters. We actually prefer to use one of a selection of cards for even the smallest of purchases.
The rise in the popularity of smart phones has ensured that a wider cross-section of individuals can now access technology and are more open to the prospect of mobile payment platforms. Apple Pay, the new contact payment technology has recently launched in the UK, enabling those who have an iPhone 6 or Apple Watch to use these devices at till points, accessing credit or debit card data via an app.
Our love affair with smart phones has, of course, been evident for some time and shows no sign of abating at this point in time, along with the level of flexibility in accessing our money and credit.
And so cashless payment takes the vending industry to a whole new level. From once providing a product that presented the end user with cash restrictions in the form of a requirement to have the right money, vending machines can now take their rightful place at the forefront of convenience. Think for a second: What other offline retail experience can offer an instantly accessible, wide selection of goods, at any time of the day, with a variety of means to purchase?
CashlessThe benefits of cashless systems are blindingly obvious for the end user, particularly when the purchase of an item relies on having the right change. (Who hasn’t experienced the frustration of being five or ten pence out at a parking meter?). What’s less obvious, but should be a real concern (and motivator) for the facilities manager, is the money making potential that the cashless system presents…
A vending machine equipped with a cashless solution allows consumers to make a purchase even when they don’t have any coins or banknotes in their wallets. Add to that, consumers buying by card are three times more likely to increase their purchase and impulse buy, as having enough money or the right change ceases to become an issue, and you get a fuller sense of the potential here…
In larger buildings which welcome members of the public, as well as staff, machines with these systems have the capacity to almost double turnover for the vending machine operator, not to mention saving the end users a lot of frustration and providing them with a better service. Cashless improves the overall consumer experience as such transactions are fast and secure. It’s the way forward for vending and should serve as a flag to facilities managers who are looking for ways to improve the facilities for all users, staff and visitors alike.
From a service point of view, its status is clear as the future of vending but from a retail point of view it carries a lot of weight too. A standard vending machine model presents the potential to make money from the space around you; cashless payment systems take this one step on, allowing you to maximise that profit with the opportunity to increase sales. You can further impact on the likelihood of achieving more sales by customising the notices on the machine accordingly to reflect any marketing activity and entice the user to spend more. Vending machines equipped with video panels are becoming more common, providing a new consumer experience, sharing nutritional information etc.
With the more sophisticated models, it is also possible to obtain a full audit of a machine’s performance which in turn gives you an insight into the consumer’s behaviour. By knowing which items were purchased, when and how, it’s possible to understand the dietary choices and preferences of your consumers and to tailor your offering accordingly. This, again, further improves and refines the overall service offering and end user experience.
Cashless is most definitely the most relevant way to take vending forward while engaging a target market that are used to touch screen technology and shopping in this manner. Thanks to the proliferate use of phones and other tablet devices, the visitors and users of your building can be classed as discerning consumers who expect a high level of service and convenience.
The world of payment has evolved at an incredible speed. Including cashless vending on the premises allows you to embrace these changes and accept all the forms of payment that your customers have in their wallets.
Vending has had to step up to meet the expectation of these potential end-users and it is now the sophisticated, branded machine, made to the highest specifications, to deliver maximum quality and reliability, that gets the best all round results. Investing in cashless is investing in the future and comes with an element of certainty – it will most definitely pay off.