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Data for today’s episode is provided by Mercator Advisory Group’s report – Intelligent Vending Technology in the U.S.: Reinventing an Industry
- Still quite small, but 24,000 “micro markets” have opened as vending alternatives in controlled nonpublic locations
- Estimated sales for micro markets were $3.3 billion in 2017, typically processed with cashless POS
- Nonfood intelligent vending is high visibility – ie. airports – but minor sales volume <$1 billion
- The following characteristics are hallmarks of the nascent intelligent vending market:
- Acceptance of card payments & universal wallets (Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, etc)
- The use of touchscreen interface (preferably large format)
- True intelligence: a PC-based processor and online/cellular connectivity
About the report
Electronic payments moving vending machines out of the gumball era. Roughly half the vending machines in the United States are still cash-based, a commentary on the industry’s slowly modernizing technology. The technology gap extends far beyond payments, however, lagging in user interfaces, machine management, inventory management, merchandising, etc. Exciting technologies and applications are available for vending machines. The question is whether they will be deployed in time to grow the industry or whether some surprising competition will present itself that is better positioned for success.