Vending Operators Reduce Costs and Increase Efficiency with Contactless Payments and Data Insight

30 November 2018, Contactless Payment

Sales statistics give the clearest indication yet of the extent to which cashless payment is penetrating the vending industry.

Retailers began to embrace the payment form in 2015/16, but the adoption of card payment in vending lagged a distance behind. However, as soon as the cashless ‘ice’ ad been broken, the pace at which Vianet technology was implemented in the sector showed a marked increase.

H2: Cashless Payment Growing Fast

In January 2017, Vianet had 1200 active devices installed:

  • 425,802 transactions
  • £383,914.69 of consumer spend
  • Average transaction value of 90p

In October 2018, Vianet has 6000 active devices installed

  • 1,160,094 transactions (+272%)
  • £1,129,272.30 9 (+300%)
  • Average transaction value of 97p

The figures show that in a mere 18 months, the number of transactions conducted through Vianet has increased by 272%. What’s more, the consumer spend has increased by 300%. In fact, across the industry as a whole, card transactions now account for 30% of all transactions (on machines that have a payment device has been installed).

‘We’re seeing cashless payment growing fast’, Matt Lane, MD, Vianet Smart Machines said. ‘The move to alternative payment to coins and notes is gathering momentum. Not only are we seeing average sales generated by machines increasing by 9%, but there are unseen benefits as well. We calculate that the removal from vending operations of cash counting, coin collecting and banking saves £56,463 per month, (£677,556 per annum) or £9.41 per machine based on a hidden cost of 5%. Although this cost will not be fully saved until operators remove cash completely, it is reflective on the transactions for cards as a saving.

‘When and if cash is completely removed, the phenomenon that we euphemistically refer to as ‘shrinkage’ will be eliminated. At the moment, the amount of cash that fails to make it from the coin mech to the bank is estimated at 3%, which works out at £5.64 per machine, per month. That’s £33,878 lost to the industry every month, or £406, 536 every year.

‘The phenomenal growth in card payments over the last 18 months is a clear indication that cash will continue to decline as the preferred method of payment in vending.’ Matt said. ‘However, it’s the next generation of solutions that will unlock the full value for operators who use the Vianet system and deploy disruptive technologies to change the way they do business. Card payment systems create a value proposition for operators that meets the needs of the consumer today. By using them, the operator protects volumes in a period where consumption is falling in Vending. However, in an economic climate where minimum wage, high fuel costs and continued cost pressures on the consumable products reduces margins, it is the data that becomes to help an operator adapt.

‘Simple opportunities to reduce manual completion of the operator stock replenishment visit can be replaced with an automated feed into the ERP providing a reduced visit time and improved accuracy of reconciliation at the machine. Basic machine alerts can notify when the machine is switched off or there is no trade can indicate that there is problem, which will reduce an operator’s sales because they are simply unaware of the issue’.

‘However, the imminent opportunity incumbent in our integrated system is the ability to pre-call the machines on site prior to arrival and to pick the stock needed to replenish without having to walk the site and note down what’s needed.’

This kind of pre-call polling of machines isn’t restricted to the kerb side, either, as Matt explained: ‘Operators are about to have the capability of pre picking orders at the warehouse ready for collection. All that’s required to make this happen is that operators ensure that the machines in a route are enabled and online’.

‘These opportunities are all possible in the immediate horizon’, Matt said, ‘but the critical step for operators is to adopt the payment system now with an IOT hub collecting data and predicting what will be required.’


© Vianet Group PLC. Incorporated in England, being its main place of operation.

Registered in the UK, Company No 5345684