Credit-card acceptance, NFC, e-wallet ... the world is moving to cashless and retailers that don't offer it as an accepted form of payment will be left behind. That's how we feel at Crane Merchandising Systems. Educating operators on the importance of cashless, not just for their own businesses, but for the survival of the vending industry, has become a major focus of Crane. The revamped Crane Cashless solution has been increasingly successful and in 2014 we are encouraging vending operators to just add cashless.
Credit card acceptance is a vital aspect of our industry's growth and it offers the incredible potential to positively affect same-store sales and new business, yet much of the industry remains understandably apprehensive. However, one in five consumers does not carry cash on them, so they are buying from other channels that do accept credit cards. This departure from vending is a major contributor to the same-store sales decline vending operators are experiencing.
In fact, the industry has experienced a significant year-over-year sales decline, which is due in part to vending's unwillingness to completely transition. But adding credit card acceptance to a vending machine has been proven by multiple cashless providers to increase sales by up to 20% without a margin loss. This sales lift comes from the increase in vending customers as a result of the added payment option, as well as from multi-vends and higher accepted price points. Additionally, by enabling two-tier pricing, operators can add up to a 10¢ cash discount and still gain a net volume.
Many operators are also using cashless to win new locations and retain existing ones. They are finding that if they don't do it, their competitors will, especially in high-traffic/high-volume sites.
The value of adding cashless acceptance to vending machines is evident, and we're showing the industry how Crane's reliable, easy-to-use turnkey credit and debit card-processing solution offers unparalleled value to vending operators.
Crane has served the vending industry since 1926 and has always engineered its machines and products for reliability and longevity. Our cashless solution is no exception, as it is equally reliable -- ensuring connectivity by supporting three major cellular networks and offering mesh networking to extend connectivity throughout buildings to areas where no signal exists.
Crane has invested a lot into ensuring customers have sufficient support and that their funds are protected and easy to manage. Operators contract with Crane, not with our processing partners, so we're the only one they need talk to when it comes to resolving any issues. And its the same sales and support team that operators have known and trusted to keep their machines up and running.
Crane Cashless is also supported by its online Streamware Connect Portal that enables cash and cashless sales reporting and deposit reconciliation and tracking without a VMS, yet those functionalities are fully integrated into VendMAX for those customers. Operators can also benefit from Crane's post-authorization on the exact amount of purchases, eliminating the need for high dollar holds on consumers' credit cards... one more step in improving the consumer perception of vending.
Just as big a selling point is the flexibility of the offering. Crane Cashless' Navigator is an easy plug-and-play telemetry device whose technology can be integrated directly into Crane's new Media machines during production, or can be retrofitted to existing machines. It is also VDI compliant to work well with other non-Crane VMS programs. And Crane Cashless is "future-ready" by design to accommodate new features as they're introduced, like the EMV standard, so obsolescence isn't a concern.
Crane Merchandising Systems will be exhibiting at the upcoming NAMA OneShow in Chicago. Operators can check out our cashless offerings in booth No. 601 and at Crane Payment Innovations (CPI), booth No. 513.
BRENDAN KEHOE is vice-president and general manager of Crane Merchandising Systems' Streamware Vertical