With so many people accustomed to paying for everything with plastic, even small-dollar purchases, cashless forms of payment now make it easier to refresh consumers and help vending machine operators be more profitable.
To combat consumer frustration with vending machines that only accept cash — which some folks do not carry, causing lost sales — tens of thousands of machines are in the process of being outfitted with credit/debit card readers to provide the payment flexibility demanded by today's consumers, especially youth.
"Our goal is two-fold. First, we want to provide consumers with convenience and flexibility by accepting any form of payment at unattended retail vending locations," says Edward M. Budd, strategic vending lead, Coca-Cola Refreshments. "Second, we're investing in innovation to help our customers reduce their expenses and drive profits."
The business case for cashless payments is strong. Approximately 30% of all transactions at vending machines with cashless readers are credit/debit and growing, according to Company data. In fact, Coca-Cola vending customers accepting non-cash forms of payment have reported:
In addition, venders using alternative forms of payment have reduced day-to-day costs of doing business. "The cost of cash must be considered as vending operators decide to upgrade their equipment to accept credit/debit card payments," Budd explains. "Theft, slippage, service calls to address coin jams and accounts receivable costs make it expensive to handle cash payments. Reducing and even eliminating cash from certain vending channels, such as hospitality, helps drive down costs while enhancing the consumer experience."