The future of Tailored Vending – thinking out of the box

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Interview with Alan Taylor, Key Account Director, outlining market trends, technological developments, and potential future services.

What are the most significant changes you’ve seen in this industry throughout your career?

Across my 30+ year career in both Vending and Payments in general, the greatest shift has been in the speed and scale of technological developments. For example, it has been amazing taking a standard vending machine and adding a 55-inch touchscreen-based PC to the front, changing not only the user journey but adding so much more from booking travel tickets, excursions, looking for the local bus schedules and checking the weather!

How would you summarise prevailing trends in the UK vending market?

It is a very dynamic marketplace with an ever-accelerating demand for migration to contactless. But beyond this, what is interesting is to see the number of new use cases rising, for hot food delivery, remote ordering, and cloud-based solutions.

Although this is very exciting it also raises many questions for vending integrators. While having to think out of the box, the most market-savvy UK operators are already embracing this challenge and developing solutions.

What are the main challenges UK vendors are facing and how do they overcome these?

Key to this is accepting payments. We can support our partners with this; not only contactless but also with the ability to accept Chip and Pin transactions on an unattended device.  This ensures you will never lose a transaction to Strong Customer Authentication. 

Principal requirements: 

  • Enabling cheaper payments
  • Faster Settlement
  • Great customer service

What recent trends have you identified in the UK market particularly? What unique needs and challenges are being faced by UK vending operators?

As in the rest of Europe, there’s a strong shift to contactless as reported by Visa, with the UK ahead, and also with a powerful dynamic around new use cases, such as smart fridges or micro-markets. For example, one billion Visa contactless payments have been processed since the introduction of the new, higher limits, and over 400 million of those are in the UK (March 2021; Worldline’s Vending White Paper).

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Have the recent changes initiated by the pandemic affected the vending industry, and how have businesses adapted?

We are taking part in the forthcoming AVA Technical Day Webinar – AVA (the-ava.com),  to discuss the future of payments and discuss how the COVID pandemic has accelerated the move to cashless. We will also address how we can help the AVA members embrace payments and new technologies.

Certainly, what is self-evident is that cash is no longer king and the adoption of cashless payment has increased at a much faster rate than ever anticipated. This has been accelerated by COVID and reflects the adoption of contactless and phone payments. For example, more than 80% of Visa payments in Europe are now contactless (Worldline’s Vending White Paper).

How have consumer demands impacted technology in the vending industry and which innovations do you expect we will see in the future?

Going cashless unquestionably saves time and money in cash collection from vending machines and enables vending operators to receive funds into their banks the next working day, facilitating better cash flow. Additionally, the greater visibility afforded through telemetry enables more productive machine refills and fewer breakdowns due to non-use.

Vending integrators and operators are very creative in the UK and are already embracing exciting new technologies such as:

  • Smart fridges
  • Reinvesting in hot and healthy food services and choices while creating appealing food corners in hospitals with a seamless 24/7 consumer experience
  • Leveraging contactless, together with Chip and Pin

Can you share any innovative or unique vending concepts that have caught your attention recently?

I particularly appreciate the emerging ability to develop, either via a PC-based solution or an app residing on the terminal, the Multi Basket functionality which allows consumers to purchase multiple items from the vending machine in a single transaction.  This helps drive significantly increased sales and additional revenue from a single transaction.

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The growth in loyalty solutions, personalised promotions and bespoke, targeted discounts is also very exciting.

What are the financial benefits of modern vending technology and how can businesses really profit through their use?

Principally through saving time and money, enhanced by the elimination of cash collections.  With the receipt of money in the bank on the next working day there is an augmented cash flow.  Other advantages include:

  • The ability to sell more through greater basket sizes, loyalty programmes and promotional programmes
  • Discounts for old stock
  • Up-to-date and instant stock alerting when machines are close to empty i.e. fewer visits to restock them
  • Remote monitoring ensures uptime is maintained and a reduction in non-essential callouts
  • No longer being tied to traditional vending – such as crisps and drinks. You can now vend any item you want at any value with access to Chip and Pin unattended devices.  

Do you provide other services to the ancillary sectors around ‘pure’ Vending?

In the UK, Worldline and its partners are not only focused on Vending, but also have solutions for many of the fast-growing and evolving unattended markets, including:

  • Safer gaming: Following UK legislation changes, we offer solutions to support safer gaming regulations within the UK, including velocity checking rules and the ability to stop underage gaming
  • Cycle Hire: Working with the leading provider to offer cycle hire across London
  • Car Wash: Supporting all UK supermarkets with the provision of contactless and Chip and Pin transactions
  • Jet Wash and Air Supply: Supporting all UK Supermarkets to provide contactless and Chip and Pin transactions
  • Electric Vehicle Charging: Provide solution for EV charging in petrol stations, supermarkets and parking
  • Parking Solutions
  • Unattended Coffee: Providing barista quality unattended coffee and hot drink solutions
  • Premier League
  • Provide payments for the supply of Beer Walls

By: Alan Taylor (Key Account Director, Merchant Services at Worldline)
Originally published at: Worldline



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