Technology wows locations
Alan Drazen, vice president of Midlantic Vending in Moorestown, N.J., uses cashless, and even telemetry as added value for many accounts. “We started cashless five or six years ago. Now, 300 of our machines are cashless,” he said. “They take credit cards, Google Wallet, etc.” He believes a good payment system gives his business an edge, especially because the bulk of his business is in public venues. And it allows him to charge a higher price point.
More recently, the company began using remote machine monitoring (RMM), which is another thing that impresses his clients. “We’re able to monitor that our machines are filled and functioning at a high level,” he said. Drazen believes his clients and end users really value the investment his company makes in technology, and it gains him business.
As for products, Drazen offers branded products, and even branded machines, as added value to accounts as well.
Scott Meskin, president, Black Tie Services, in Baltimore, Md., also uses technology as added value. RMM allows him to know what customers want before he gets to the location as well as lets him merchandise based on what customers are eating. “It’s added value because customers get the product mix they (really) want,” he said. He also appreciates being able to prove a product is a great seller to a location with the help of technology. Additionally, RMM has allowed him to be proactive with his service calls. It alerts him to a problem before the customer even knows about it, such as a dropping temperature or a machine that hasn’t taken a bill/coin in over an hour.
All his service vehicles have GPS, and Meskin considers that added value when it comes to service calls. Calls were, historically, handled in the order in which they came in, but now the Black Tie Service dispatcher can see the location of each technician in relation to the location needing service. “Software is helping us route those service technicians to the right location,” said Meskin.“We now handle most service calls within an hour.”
SCMMs meet environmental concerns
His other big added value option, SCMMs, offer customers not just more variety of products and payment options, but Meskin believes they are more “green” than a traditional vending bank. He admits he hasn’t done the math, but the size of the compressors, almost half compared to a vending machine, leads Meskin to believe they have a smaller carbon footprint. Plus, he doesn’t get asked about price as much with SCMMs. He’s put in 10 so far, and not one customer has asked him how much he’s going to charge for candy.
“They feel it’s such an added value, they don’t care what you’re charging,” he said. He finds that’s not the case when he’s prospecting a vending account.
Adding value is a win-win. It provides the location with service it can’t get elsewhere, whether it’s efficient payment options, variety in products on site, occasional free coffee or more reliable equipment. It provides the operator with the ability to charge more, leverage the contract for his/her benefit or simply win or keep an account. Even small, outside the norm options can help an operator take advantage of this sales tool.