SAN DIEGO, CA -- Revive Self Checkout Café is putting the finishing touches on an upgrade to its backend software that will add offline credit card acceptance to its micromarket kiosks, among other enhancements. The two-year-old company has also augmented its support team to maintain its responsive customer service as its base of self-checkout stores continues to grow. Revive reports that 150 of its kiosks are being operated by companies across the country.
Revive's in-house development team, headed by founder and vending operator Adam Arthur, began a 30-day beta test of the offline mode on Aug. 1. This feature enables credit card transactions even if the installation's Internet connection is down. The test is being conducted in micromarkets run by Arthur's San Diego-based operating company, Revolution Vending. A month-long trial by a Revive operator customer will follow, with commercial release of the updated software platform set for Oct. 1.
In addition to adding offline payment processing, the software upgrade will further enhance the kiosk's user interface and streamline reporting for operators, according to Revive vice-president of sales and marketing Joe Loparco.
In other news, Revive has begun producing its kiosks in-house, at a new manufacturing facility in San Diego. The company is still working with its original subcontractor, also based in its hometown, but Loparco said adding in-house manufacturing capability enables Revive to shorten lead times and increase volume.
It also gives the micromarket maker the ability to produce customized products for other companies. Revive's first demonstration of this flexibility is the standalone "More" station that it built for USA Technologies. USAT is Revive's primary credit card processor, and reportedly invited Arthur to design the kiosk and develop the software for the station, at which vending and micromarket customers can add value to their USAT More cards. The prepaid card and loyalty program made its debut last summer.
"Given our manufacturing capability and that our founder is a software developer, we can do customizations quickly and efficiently," Loparco explained. "We first talked with USAT in February, and the More station was on the NAMA OneShow floor two months later."
Revive collaborates with other industry technology providers to integrate its micromarkets with their products. A beta test is underway with LightSpeed Automation, which makes a warehouse pick-to-light system, and Cantaloupe Systems' vending management system. Revive is in the development stage of integrating its software with Streamware's VMS and Sprout Retail's prepaid and loyalty platform for vending.
The firm has technical support teams on both coasts. "We take a remote look at what's going on in every kiosk every day," Loparco explained. "We start at 7 a.m. and take a look at the functionality of each kiosk on the East Coast, and work our way west until about 11 a.m. Eastern time, when the process is complete. This gives us a snapshot of any technical issues through remote monitoring, so we can address them before they become a problem and we can make sure all features and functions work properly. If there are any issues, we get notifications during the day and address them."
Revive's technical experts can often fix problems remotely, and otherwise guide the operator through the process if necessary.
Loparco said Revive's steady growth has been accelerated by the variety of turnkey solutions it offers, developed largely through its growing relationship with the Business Enterprise Program for visually impaired operators. Revive supports customers of all sizes with everything they need to get up and running and succeed, including coolers, racks, area treatments, onsite installation and training.
"Our business model is no commissions, which is a very distinct feature and especially important when it comes to the rules for visually impaired operators," Loparco told VT. "We sell Revive kiosks to our customers the same way Crane, U-Select-It or Automated Merchandising Systems sells a machine: we just sell and support it, with no residual fees. It's also a complete turnkey solution. Visually impaired operators often require and deserve a higher level of support. In recognition of their special circumstances, we go above and beyond, so that has become a niche for us."