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Apr 28, 2016
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Cashless Trends

Top 10 NAMA OneShow Takeaways

It was an exciting week at the NAMA OneShow in Chicago.  As I walked the floor, talked to customers, prospects, strategic partners and members of the press, and listened to and lead discussions trends shaping the industry in the coming years, I was struck with not only how quickly the industry has changed in a short time, but the rapid speed and momentum moving us forward.  As we consider and adopt new technologies and solutions that provide ease, support and efficiency to anyone who touches our industry, I thought I’d share my Top Ten NAMA Take-Aways below, which capture key themes discussed at the show regarding the industry’s trajectory.  

Top 10 NAMA Takeaways

  1. The Consumer is King: The industry is becoming more focused on the consumer and creating a better, more convenient consumer experience through not only products but services, new technology and point-of-sale engagement experiences. 
  2. Cashless is Key: Cashless payments have clearly moved into mainstream vending, taking a similar path as the dollar bill acceptor in the 80’s and 90’s. There is no longer a question if a company should add cashless technology, but how quickly.
  3. DEX and Cashless are the Perfect Pair: Those already connected to cashless technology are realizing the benefits of adding DEX telemetry, and vice-versa. Integration and interoperability between systems & service providers will be important to allow the industry to scale these two(2) technologies and realize the true value.
  4. Efficiency: Vending companies are looking for internal-operational efficiency by moving toward two (2) platform & service providers – first being a cashless, loyalty and consumer engagement services provider that connects all their vending machines, micro-markets and OCS to one platform. Second, a V.M.S. enterprise system that connects all their vending machines, micro-markets and OCS to one platform & service. Operators have quickly realized that having multiple services providers is costing them internal labor costs to manage.
  5. Interoperability Gains Voice – Vending technology providers have heard customers “loud and clear” on the importance of interoperability, and are showing more willingness to be interoperable with other providers, thus allowing vending companies to “pair up” the best in class solution & services that is best for them.
  6. Consumer Loyalty Programs and Promotional Offers Growing – vending is starting to catch up with traditional retailing. Vending technology providers now enable vending operators to offer Loyalty Programs and Promotional Offers that reward their consumers for their loyal patronage. As vending companies realize the benefits of engaging with and rewarding their most loyal customers (like Starbucks and other retailers already have), I would expect these programs to continue to grow over time.
  7. New Tech Companies Joining the Fray: Vending technology continues to innovate and evolve, many of them focused on improving  the “consumer experience”. New products like interactive point of sale systems and mobile purchasing apps (using your mobile app to make a product purchase on-line and have it waiting for you to pick up in the micro-market) were demonstrated at the show. We also saw several new technology entrants exhibiting their products and services.
  8. Micro-Markets Continue to Grow: Increased competition in the micro-markets are fueling cost-reductions in micro-market solutions, allowing operators to further expand placement opportunities.
  9. EMV What?  While many questions were asked by customers regarding EMV adoption, it was not a burning issue and there seems to be no rush toward implementation.
  10. Acquisitions Slow:  Vending acquisitions have slowed with current vending companies now hunkering down for the long run, and investing in new vending technology and new machines.

All in all, a very interesting event and a great time to be in business of unattended cashless transactions for the self-serve retail market. Did we miss you at the show or would you like to catch up with USA Technologies, feel free to reach out to sales@usatech.com and we will be in touch.

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