The very first coin-operated vending machine was introduced in London, England in the early 1880s. Since then, innovation has pushed the industry to new heights. From cashless payments to healthier snack options, the vending industry is continuing to innovate. As the vending space continues to grow, there are certain trends that are leading the way to a bigger and brighter future for the industry.
Today we’re going to take a look at some of those trends and how they are pushing the industry forward.
Cashless Payments. It wasn’t long ago that one had to dig around for coins or smooth out a dollar bill in order to use a vending machine. Fortunately, today, many machines offer cashless payments to make products available to anyone with a credit or debit card. Currently, about a quarter of the nation’s 4.4 million vending machines can accept cashless payments, according to a study done by USA Technologies. During this 18-month study, it was found that cashless payments increased the number of transactions as well as sales volume.
Refrigeration Technology. In your childhood, you may recall seeing vending products limited to non-consumables or items with a long shelf life. As technology has expanded, you can now find vending machines that also offer refrigerated or even frozen foods available. These variations give consumers many options to choose from and appeal to a larger demographic.
Healthier Options. Vending machines have really innovated when it comes to the food that’s offered, with many more people opting for a healthy option. Instead of being limited to just a sugary snack or drink, you can now find vending machines that offer up a salad, juice, and many other healthier alternatives to candy and treats. Across the U.S., annual vending revenue totals approximately $7 billion, with healthy alternative options surpassing junk food options in many locations.
Transparent Nutritional Data. The national obesity epidemic has had a significant impact on the vending industry as well. Many organizations have moved to put laws in place regarding nutritional offerings. The FDA requires operators that manage 20 or more machines to provide nutritional data, including calorie count. The transparency in the nutritional data is trying to combat the obesity epidemic and hopefully lead people to make healthier snack choices.
These advancements along with operators’ being more innovative and technology enhancements have allowed the vending industry to evolve over time and better reflect consumer preferences and provide more options. Cellular connectivity and current 4G LTE service is the preferred choice for a fast and secure connection that drives much of the latest trends and service offerings in the vending space.
With OptConnect’s managed services, we provide a commercial-grade router with cellular connection for customers. But the icing on the cake is the management and support that comes with it, a dedicated 24/7 customer care team to assist operators in troubleshooting errors and minimizing downtime and so much more.
OptConnect provides proprietary equipment for cellular connectivity, a customer portal with status and activity reporting, data overage risk mitigation, and a trusted partnership to make sure you have the most reliable connection available for your vending operation. Whether you operate one device or a thousand, OptConnect has the solutions to give you peace of mind.
To learn more about OptConnect’s vending solutions, click here.