Future-looking operating concepts and digital services are gaining significance
The revolution of the vending machines is beginning: In the past vending machines were considered to be stopgaps that were implemented as emergency solutions in order to close service gaps short-term. Nowadays, vending machines are enjoying new popularity. They are modern, customer-oriented and omnipresent in the digital era. Today, vending machines are used as an autonomous and modern sales channel. The public vending section is hereby growing stronger and stronger. However, the variety of possibilities is by no means completely exploited and tailor-made solutions are required. At euvend & coffeena (09-11.05.2019) companies from the vending industry will present their latest products and solutions and show where the journey is headed in the future.
Individual, where possible digital 24/7 services that is what the customers and consumers expect today. The manufacturers and operators are thus forced to adapt their offers if they want to successfully co-shape the market and meet the expectations of the customers. The consumer's first point of contact on the vending machine is the control panel. Here pushbutton systems are still customary, although touch systems have long since become the standard in many areas of life. They can be designed individually and in a user-friendly way. The machines can be visually upgraded alone through a modern design of the control panel in the form of larger touch displays. In addition, further functions such as visualisations can be implemented, which enhance the customer experience.
Touch systems offer new creative possibilities. "Intuitive displays can for instance be used for advertising videos or special campaigns that generate further turnover," stated Oliver Garn, Executive Director and Country Manager Austria/Netherlands at EVOCA Germany GmbH. "Modern machines with touch systems are perceived to be of higher quality and the operating and selection process is faster and more simple for the customer." Gert Mulder, Branch Manager at Animo GmbH sees the aim of digitalising the control panel in optimising the service performances: "The service can be significantly improved for the customer through digital options, for example through the implementation of apps, but also through seasonal product offers and campaigns such as "happy hours" or couponing." This also means further business fields and sales approaches for the operators of vending machines. "Furthermore, operating instructions in the form of active movies are conceivable that support the user in front of the machine," stated Mulder. The communication with customers will continually further develop and offer new possibilities. For instance, André Meier, Commercial Manager/Head of Sales of Sielaff GmbH & Co. KG, is announcing the display of ingredients, nutritional values and allergens, which particularly with a view to the growing interest of the customers for a healthy diet can be a useful service.
If one takes things a step further, face recognition by the machine comes into play. With the aid of the interpretation of facial expression and gestures, the desired product can in future be automatically proposed . This additional service would be a breakthrough for the industry, is however by all means realistic for the future. Overall, the services will be optimised and digitalised in future. "With the right solution achieved for example by means of an app, the consumers can not only see where a vending machine is located, but also which products are available," forecasted John Kolthof, Executive Director, CCV Easy, a brand of the international CCV Group B.V. "What's more, the collected data provides an insight into the consumer behaviour, which enables the service and support to be further improved and become more efficient."
Last, but not least the payment methods play an important role for the consumer. In all sections of the trade the trend is going towards modern payment methods, such as cashless payment and mobile payment. The vending industry should also pick up on this. "The customers are increasingly looking for a high-tech machine that offers the best possible user experience. For example, with the machines of Magex it is possible to pay with cash and credit cards, but also with the smartphone app, QR codes or promotion codes," explained Mauro Maule, CEO of Magex srl. Depending on the area of application, further payment methods should also be considered. "In the case of office vending machines, it would even be possible to deduct the amount spent from the wages," said Hansjürg Marti, Executive Director of Schaerer Germany GmbH.
New digital trends are also being developed for the management of vending machines. For example, intelligent systems, which send automatic notifications to the vending machine operators when a maintenance check is due or faults occur, are required. In the ideal case, the machine determines the maintenance intervals based on the usage of the machine. The development on the market is heading towards implementing new analysis and evaluation functions that work out the economic efficiency of the machines or which can produce sales balances. "Schaerer Germany GmbH is presenting a system at euvend & coffeena that provides information on which beverages are demanded the most, at which times the most coffee is sold or which depicts the performance at individual locations in the case of chain stores. On the basis of this data, different measures can be introduced, such as displaying targeted advertising campaigns on the displays of the machines or adapting the range of beverages to suit the customers' preferences," the Executive Director, Hansjürg Marti, stated. A further development that can be expected is that vending machines will send data, which allows the consistency of the quality of the beverages to be examined and the source of the faults to be identified.
Safety and sustainability also play a major role today. Regardless of all the advantages a smart vending machine brings with it, protection against hackers, i.e. through a safe Internet connection, should be taken into account . The implementation of resource-saving technologies for instance regarding the water supply goes down well with customers and is also kind to the environment. In spite of all the innovations, the exhibitors of euvend & coffeena are unanimous on one point: the high quality of the products remains to be the most important benchmark for the customers and consumers. "Quality will remain to be the trend, because anyone who eats and drinks away from home, simply expects this," explained Matthias Molnar, Sales Director DACH Professional Filter Products at BRITA GmbH.
1 Vgl. https://www.camatec.de/was-digitalisierung-im-snackautomaten-fuer-den-verbraucher-bedeutet (01.02.2019).
2 Further Information: https://www.industry-of-things.de/intelligent-vending-machines-trend-auf-dem-vormarsch-a-768014/ .
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