Vending Machines and V-Commerce

Recent advances in the vending industry have led to increased reliability, product selection, and profitability. Although vending machines have been synonymous with speed and convenience, the vending industry somehow remains the only retail industry yet to universally adopt cashless payment options. With more than a reported eight million vending machines, the vending industry, by far, conducts the largest cash business in the United States. Of these eight million vending machines, it is estimated that only three percent offer cashless payment options. A cashless payment option refers to a system that functions by having funds transferred electronically from one account to another, without the direct use of currency and coins. The most commonly accepted cashless payment options are credit and debit cards.

With the public making a major move from physical currency to cashless payments, the
V-commerce marketplace has experienced a huge boom. V-commerce describes the range of advanced automatic technology applications available to the vending industry. All of these applications are focused on the enhancement, reliability, efficiency, and connectivity of vending machines. Cashless vending, one of the strategies of V-commerce, is expected to enhance customer convenience, increase sales and profitability, and improve vending efficiency. Although the technology has been around for over ten years, it has only been recently that there has been a demand in improving cashless vending technology.

In spite of the increased focus on V-commerce and cashless vending, why are only three percent of the eight million vending machines equipped to support cashless payment options? Some vending operators have expressed reservations in offering cashless payment options due to lack of experience with the new technology, the initial cost of hardware and software, and the cost of processing and handling fees for such small dollar or low value transactions. However, many vending equipment manufacturers are now making it easier and more cost efficient for vending operators to load cashless vending applications in their vending machines. With cashless vending technology on the rise, is the initial investment worth it for these hesitant vending operators?


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