Connected Vending: Darren Anderson, Business Development Manager, Self Service, Ingenico Enterprise Retail, discusses how the COVID crisis is encouraging vending operators and unattended retailers to embrace new technologies.
The unattended market has been affected by COVID in a variety of ways, from lower footfall and closed premises that left vending machines underused, to contact-free guidelines promoting their usage.
Just as many other markets have had to upgrade their systems to meet new guidelines and hygiene recommendations, so too has vending. As cash usage decreased over the course of the pandemic, cards and APMs (Alternative Payment Methods) have stepped in to provide a host of benefits, and as customers use and enjoy these seamless technologies, they are fast becoming their preference.
These developments have provided the opportunity for vending operators to embrace newer technologies which, although ultimately positive, can prove daunting if such retailers are not accustomed to working closely with payments. Fortunately, the vending market is in a fantastic position to take advantage of new contactless technologies. Connected Vending is low on human interaction and has 24/7 capabilities.
Not only can the market cater to consumers’ evolving needs, but it can also provide the flexibility and reliability that consumers are relying on as the world around them is changing. Many new technologies can also improve the backroom of vending, offering features such as easier on-the-go stock management and maintenance notification technology.
63% of Gen Zers have said they would pay more for a mobile experience
In the modern world, customers want to enjoy the latest innovations and best-in-class customer experiences. Self-reliant and empowered shoppers believe that self-service is a time-saver. They also see cashless and contactless as faster and more seamless ways to pay, as well as a great way to help avoid spreading the virus. This is reflected in the recent consumer demand for a wider variety of APMs – where once contactless would suffice, customers now expect even more options, from QR codes, to in-app payments, and more.
However, the cashless trend isn’t the only force driving the evolution of the Connected Vending. Payments, data privacy and security, and customer experience are also important factors to take into account. With constantly evolving fraud developments in the online world, good security is more pertinent than ever, and has to be a central consideration to vending operators – as well as ensuring a seamless customer experience.
In terms of customer usage trends, mobile payments are becomingly increasing popular, driven by the Gen Z market. According to our research, 63% of Gen Zers have said they would pay more for a mobile experience. Trust and a good experience are also considerable factors across all customer groups, with 95% of customers claiming their loyalties lie with a company they trust, and 86% willing to pay more for a positive experience.
To appeal to customers, vending operators must provide the options they want. That’s why vending machines are proving to be such a popular option; not only do they provide a convenient and reliable method of payment for customers, but they also avoid face-to-face interaction. In addition, they can be used to sell a variety of products and accept a variety of payment methods to appeal to all customers, no matter their preference
Connected Vending: How payments technology can bring more revenue
More than ever, vending operators must engage customers while also enhancing their operational efficiency. That’s why, to meet both the operators and shoppers’ expectations, and better respond to new vending challenges, there are solutions that enable merchants to provide their customers with the payment methods they prefer. Payments can be a minefield, so there’s no need to worry if you’re not hugely familiar with the offering out there, or unsure where to start – that’s where a payment service provider (PSP) can assist. With the expertise that a PSP brings, along with the technological solutions they offer, vending operators can improve customer journeys in all unattended environments and deliver s new era of Connected Vending
Such technological solutions are flexible and can cater to specific business needs, while providing easy, quick, and secure payment methods that protect both the business and the customer’s personal data. They can also improve operational efficiency, increasing business performance with features such as real-time reporting and smart transaction management, to provide a best-in-class customer experience.
With smart devices, a secure gateway and advanced acquiring capabilities, PSPs can help vending operators design a flexible Connected Vending solution tailored to their individual and specific needs.
Keep up to date with technological developments: read Planet Vending’s ‘Vending Insight’, HERE