Sales doubled every year for the company for several years.
This past year has been the first year the company’s sales have not increased, but Bottorff isn’t discouraged. He recognizes that the recession has slowed business.
Another challenge has been the requirement to provide “better for you” products. While the demand for these items began in the schools, it has carried into business and industrial accounts, and it has impacted sales.
In time, Bottorff thinks consumers will begin to buy more of the “better for you” products that vending operators sell, which will lift sales.
TECHNOLOGY PROMISES GROWTH
The vending industry, in his view, is regrouping, and he is encouraged by what he sees.
Bottorff believes that technology promises a new era for vending. And he is encouraged by the number of operators who have embraced pre-kitting, remote machine monitoring and cashless transactions.
“The technology advances are coming faster than anticipated,” he said. He expects it will be the larger independent operators, not the nationals, who will bring new technology to market. “Technology is the answer,” he said.
In the years he’s been in the vending industry, Bottorff has seen operator professionalism improve, and he believes technology will augment this change.
He is among the brokers who have accessed third party data providers to develop sales data for vending operators.
One thing Bottorff has noticed is the resilience of many independent operators. The independents have been less affected by the recession than the nationals, he said, since the accounts the independents service have not laid off as many workers as the big locations that the nationals serve.
“In our market, the independents are definitely holding their own,” he said.
Bottorff encourages operators to recognize that product manufacturers want them, the operators, to use technology since they, the manufacturers, need it to be able to track sales better. If more operators use technology, the manufacturers will invest more of their resources in the vending channel, Bottorff said.
“Manufacturers respond well to operators that embrace new technology,” he said.
THE INDUSTRY REWARDS DEDICATED MEMBERS
In the meantime, Bottorff is also optimistic due to the better products that manufacturers are offering to the vending channel. “I love the variety of things we get to sell,” he said. “And working with my team of dedicated professionals makes it all much more satisfying and productive.” In addition, “Relationships still matter in this industry,” he said.