The appeal of a Windows-based architecture with USB interfacing, in place of DEX and MDB, is worth consideration, Kasavana said. He noted that the constantly increasing presence of self-service kiosks, which are PC-based, not DEX-based, presents an additional incentive. He feels the vending industry might be interested in adapting newer technologies more rapidly if they were developed using architectures accepted in other industries.
He also believes that such a move would result in enhanced consumer awareness of gains in vending technology. Kasavana said it would be wise to consider developments in the related self-service kiosk industry since there is a strong potential for linkage to vending equipment. This is especially appealing as self-service kiosks continue to emerge in application areas like airports, grocery stores, banks, hotels, retail stores, and related businesses.
Cashless use increasing quickly
Jim Turner, vice president of intelligent vending at USA Technologies Inc., said the results confirm what other surveys have found about consumer willingness to use cashless tools. He thinks that the faster the industry accommodates cashless transaction capability, the faster it will grow.
Turner noted other research has found that credit and debit card use are projected to continue to increase rapidly, particularly debit cards, which are used for smaller value transactions than credit cards. "Vending is a perfect application for this," he said. "The trend toward cards is accelerating, particularly for smaller transactions."
Turner was impressed by the finding that consumers are comfortable using cell phones to make credit purchases.
He was also intrigued by the finding that 28 percent said they would use credit cards to make vending purchases and another 30 percent indicated they had no problem doing this.
Quarter of non-users enticed by cashless
Equally if not more importantly, Turner noted, is that among non-users of vending, one fourth don't use vending because they don't have the right change or because current machines don't take credit cards.
Turner said other research has found that card purchases are typically 32 percent higher than cash purchases; the increase is driven by both multiple vends and higher ticket purchases, in almost equal measure. "I think it makes a very powerful story for the future direction of the industry," Turner said.
Randy Parks, president of ProStar Services in Carrollton, Texas, said the survey was helpful because it reinforced the need to change the way the industry does things. "We have some problems, but we have some opportunities," Parks said.
"We agree that there is a need to better educate consumers on some of the benefits that vending has to offer - convenience, ease of use, healthier products, value, brands, price and variety," said Kelly Carioti, vice president of vending, PepsiCo Foodservice. "In doing so, we believe that an opportunity exists to clear up some misconceptions about vending and to draw in new users to the industry."