Payment solutions provider VMC acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the vending industry, but the long-established company contends that it could it actually be ‘the nudge operators have needed’ to review their working practices and – finally – implement the new technology that has the capability to improve their sales performance.
‘The increase of cashless payments in vending has been significant over the last 10 years, growing from around 8% to more than 50% of all payments today, which is hardly surprising given the benefits to both user and operator’, Laura Barwell, Business Development & Sales Manager at VMC explained. ‘Not only does it make transactions simpler and quicker, it also meets the needs of impulse purchasers with no cash, provides hygiene benefits that have suddenly become more important and reduces the workload for operators.’
While the advantages of cashless payments over ‘dirty cash’ have been front and centre during the pandemic, there are still challenges to overcome on vending machines to minimise the level of customer contact that’s required to complete a transaction. ‘In most cases selection buttons need to be pressed and flaps opened for the product to be taken, so the next phase of development needs to address these ergonomic limitations’, Laura said.
Last summer version 4.3 of the MDB vending protocol was published by NAMA, with numerous changes being recommended to better support cashless payment. Focusing on modifications like remote vending (e.g. product selection on smartphone), allowing a basket where multiple items can be purchased in one transaction, and the use of coupons such as QR codes.
‘Historically the vending industry have been slow to adopt major new innovations like these, but perhaps the increasing demand for cashless payments, coupled with the global impact of coronavirus will make these new ideas a reality sooner’, Laura said. ‘Our vending experts at VMC predict that cashless will jump to 90% of all payments on vending machines over the next 2 years, making it the dominant method and really highlighting why it’s so important for manufacturers and operators to innovate sooner rather than later. VMC has been providing payment solutions to the vending industry for almost 3 decades, offering both open and closed contactless payment, plus many additional features with VMC Flex such as 24/7 reporting, online account management, loyalty and much more.
‘I know it’s a case of ‘she would say that, wouldn’t she?’, but I genuinely believe that operators looking to embrace the benefits of contactless payments should take a close look at VMC, Laura said. ‘There aren’t many companies out there that can match our experience and expertise in the sector and we have the resources to ensure operators hit the ground running.’
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