Avanti Buys BYNDL: Vending Industry To See Mobile Transactions, Promotions Boost (Part 1 of 3)

Jan. 12, 2015

Avanti Markets, a micro market provider for the vending industry, has purchased mobile transaction service provider BYNDL, for an undisclosed sum. The sale clears the way for Avanti to take advantage of consumer data it has gathered over the last several years, and use the BYNDL interface to drive not only mobile payments, but end-user promotions to a higher level.

“Every transaction involves a payment," Jim Brinton, CEO of Avanti Markets, told VendingMarketWatch. "Therefore, every transaction can potentially involve loyalty, promotions and so forth." This is what interested Brinton when he initially looked at acquiring BYNDL. "We know that our consumers want to use their cell phones and other devices to make payments at our kiosks. Now the device can be used for payment, but also to promote loyalty."

While the percentage of consumers paying via mobile devices at micro markets is small, the popularity of mobile transactions is growing such devices isn't dwindling. Internet analytics company comScore estimates that by the end of 2014, up to 75 percent of the U.S. population had smartphones.  The success of other retailers’ mobile applications, such as Starbucks which estimates that 15 percent of 2014 U.S. sales came from their app, show how it can also be used by vending and micro market operators to improve their bottom-lines.

"Repetitive workplace foodservice, where there is an opportunity to interact through loyalty, coupons, promotion as well as payments, offers a unique opportunity to drive value into the market,” said BYNDL CEO Lori Salow Marshall. While mobile is a relatively new interface for the vending industry, Marshall sees partnering with Avanti as a chance to test its services on a proven platform with existing customers and consumers. "It’s an opportunity for us to bring new services to market, and to quickly test how people feel about them," said Marshall. "We can provide great value to the industry on a rapid cycle of feedback from Avanti’s customers."

The sale will be final this week. Both companies have started merging internal process and staffs.  Marshall will become president of both BYNDL, which is remaining an independent entity, and Avanti Markets. Brinton will be CEO of both. Marshall explained the sale as mutually beneficial. “The goal is that we can leverage the opportunity to bring the two companies together and drive synergies in terms of joint technology development and how we go to market," she said.

Brinton believes proving out the concept and showing the value of mobile transaction services will help the entire industry. “As we develop new items and new innovations, we can test them internally," Brinton said. "That is what Avanti is going to be doing, but the BYNDL relationship is going to be something that we can take to the entire industry, as well as externally." 

BYNDL’s mobile services will be available to the industry as a whole, and the company will continue to work with other vending technologies, payment processors and even other micro market partners.  “The unattended retail market will benefit from the opportunity to have one app work across all of their services – whatever vending machines, micro markets, or kiosks an operator has,” Marshall said.  “While BYNDL will work extensively with Avanti, we are agnostic to technology partners and want to work with everyone in the industry.”

Brinton and Marshall see the vending industry being able to take consumer interactions beyond the machine. “Now operators communicate with the consumer at the kiosk or transact at a vending machine at the time of sale,” Marshall said. “Soon you will be able to grow that interaction, using the phone to bring people back to your machines and markets again and again.”