The first cashless vending machines hit markets over a decade ago, but a majority of vending machines in the U.S. today are still cash-only machines. However, cashless vending technologies are increasingly becoming the preferred choice for customers, and the trend shows no signs of slowing, making headlines both within industry publications and mainstream news sources.
Estimates say that machines with cashless vending technologies can see sales increase up to 25 percent, when replacing cash-only machines. First and foremost, convenience is a major motivator for this increase in sales. Paying with a credit or debit card, employee account number, or mobile phone is generally faster than dealing with cash, and there is no need to struggle with uncooperative bills or to collect change. More than 40 percent of Americans say that they can go a week without making a single cash purchase. This figure is especially important for vending providers to note, because by not offering cashless payment options, they may miss out on a whole section of potential consumers who no longer habitually carry cash.
In addition, USA Technologies, a leader in cashless vending technologies and longtime Canteen partner, found in a 2012 study that cashless payments were preferred for higher-priced items (in machines offering both cashless and cash payment options). Cashless payment options may be preferred for more expensive products simply because a customer doesn’t have enough cash for the item they want, but customers may also opt for these items because using a payment card as opposed to cash makes them less aware of, or more comfortable paying, the higher price.
Along with cashless vending technologies, many vending machines now incorporate digital touchscreen technologies, easily accessible product information, and sales tracking in order to offer customer loyalty rewards. The product options available for purchase at vending machines are expanding as well, with everything from locally sourced, organic, and better-for-you meal options to electronics and cosmetic products. Canteen’s own CEO was quoted in Bloomberg Businessweek, stressing Canteen’s position that the “companies that are willing to invest in technology are thriving.”
It’s clear that cashless vending is here to stay. The real question is which vending providers will make the most of the developing trend – and which new ways to pay we’ll come up with next!