Foley Finds Loyalty Programs Boost PayRange Cashless Sales

Posted On: 10/8/2018

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Foley Foodservice, a vending, micromarket and OCS operator based in Norwood, MA, began installing PayRange’s cashless payment technology in 2015. The operation now has nearly 3,000 vending machines equipped with the service.

PayRange technology permits a vending transaction to be handled entirely through the patron's smartphone and its cellular network. The vender does not need to be connected to a wireless network; the exchange of data with the machine is handled by the smartphone's own Bluetooth personal-area network. PayRange works through a small dongle, the BluKey, which plugs into existing machines between the payment system and the controller board. The customer runs the PayRange app to communicate an account number and a purchase request to the machine; the machine responds by communicating its identity and the price of the selected item. The app debits the customer's PayRange account, then sends a signal back to the vender to actuate the vend.  The PayRange app is available for Apple iOS and Android smart devices. Foley now includes PayRange BluKey devices in all of its machines, whether or not they accept credit cards, in order to capture all potential sales.

JOIN THE CLUB: PayRange allows patrons' smartphones to handle an entire transaction over their cellular networks, while using Blue-tooth personal area networking to actuate a credit. The app gives operators new tools for marketing to their patrons, rewarding them for their loyalty and building engagement. On-screen signage prompts them to download the app and reap the rewards.

In addition to giving Foley mobile payment acceptance capability, PayRange technology gives the operation new tools for marketing to its patrons, rewarding them for their loyalty and building engagement. PayRange has set up tailored branded promotions based on Foley’s specific marketing goals, and developed material to present to prospective new accounts. The PayRange service also provides ongoing insight into consumer behaviors.

Foley’s current promotional package includes “First Purchase Free,” which encourages new consumers to download the app and open a secure online account by rewarding them with a free item of their choice. PayRange users also benefit from their loyalty with the “Buy 7, Get One Free” program, which incentivizes repeat purchases. Additionally, Foley created its own “25¢ Off Your Next Two Purchases” discount offer.

“The users that we see love it. They use it and they use it often,” said Foley Foodservice general manager Fred Zeiba. “These programs are pretty important. Repeat usage is through the roof, and much of that is because of the rewards and discount programs.”

Steve Foley
“Every time someone buys into it, it’s eight, nine, 10, 12 uses over a week or a month,” added Foley Foodservice owner Steve Foley. “You can easily double and triple sales to existing customers.” In fact, he said, overall purchases per user have increased 19% with the marketing programs in place.

Zeiba praised PayRange’s ability to allow Foley to make its programs “consumer-centric,” with rewards based on the number of vends, regardless of the item purchased, and the promotional discount redeemable on any product in the machine. Customers are rewarded for buying the product they want, not just those being sponsored by a manufacturer. He added that the programs have also helped Foley land accounts by explaining the benefits of accepting mobile payments and offering location-specific rewards promotions and special offers PayRange gives customers a mobile payment option and a way to get a cash discount while still paying digitally. Customers using Foley machines pay the same for a PayRange or a cash purchase, but 10¢ more for payment with a credit card.

 Paresh Patel
PayRange founder and chief executive Paresh Patel emphasized that the ability of the company’s Bluetooth technology to enable not only mobile payments, but also marketing and rewards capability, follows a trend that has become expected in retail.

“In retail and restaurants, payment is necessary but not sufficient, from a consumer standpoint,” Patel said. “At Starbucks, they can pay any way, with Apple-Pay or a credit card, but using the Starbucks app also lets them earn points, and double points, and get free drinks, and learn about specials. That changes behavior.”
Patel explained that he has employees who will make a special trip to Starbucks, just to earn double points or because they want to try an advertised drink special – and those special trips are incremental sales for the coffeehouse chain.  

“People get emotionally engaged; we’re all consumers of other peoples’ businesses,” Patel noted. In vending, however, marketing is in its infancy, perhaps seven years behind Starbucks, and operators are long overdue to follow the coffeehouse giant’s lead.

“Most operators think loyalty and promotions will cost too much money and take too much time. I was an operator myself, so I understand when they universally tell us that they lack the time, the employees or the expertise to run promotional campaigns,” Patel remarked. “But it’s something operators have to do for today’s customer, and the operators who are doing it are proving it’s a huge opportunity. More are focusing on marketing today, and even more will.”

PayRange’s campaign program bridges the gap by running in the background, simplifying the effort required of operators and working within their resources. Patel explained that the operator need only check a box to select an existing option, or can choose to customize one for its particular needs, when choosing how to reward users of the payment app. It might be a surprise 50¢ off to every 25th user, for example, or their first purchase free.

Patel advised operators to realize that the market around them is changing faster and in ways the industry may not even see coming, and that getting ahead of those changes is critical.

“Look at what Netflix did to Blockbuster, and the speed at which that happened,” he instanced. “The iPhone only launched in 2007, and the whole world has changed because of it. Apple wasn't even in the phone business, and the leading phone manufacturers then – Nokia and Motorola – barely exist today. Food delivery is a similar threat to vending and micromarket operators today. Uber Eats (and Amazon can literally eat our lunch if we don’t keep up with what consumers are looking for, and build some engagement.”

Patel urged operators to change their mindset from selling one bag or chips or soda at a time to maintaining each user. “When I was an operator, I didn’t know the user. I was worried about selling a case of Coke or chips, not about who was buying those products or when they were. It was irrelevant,” he recalled. “If all cashless is credit card, you still don’t know your customers and their purchasing patterns. It’s like being a blindfolded shopkeeper. If you’re not attuned to the consumer, someone will be; and if you lose them, it’s very hard to get them back. Is cashless what you’re really trying to solve for? That only goes halfway. Consumers have greater expectations than they did eight or 10 years ago.”
NO CASH, NO PROBLEM: PayRange continues to expand its capabilities and customize them to users in different segments, including laundromats. In the works is an amusements-focused application of the payment technology that plays into the gaming experience.

He added that millennials are willing to give up some privacy – their names or email addresses – to be better serviced by receiving promotions and offers in return. Amazon, Patel noted, has conditioned consumers to embrace giving up their anonymity to reap the benefits of the online retail giant knowing their purchase histories and suggesting other purchases based on them. YouTube does the same, making custom-tailored suggestions for future videos based on each customer's previous selections.

Patel stressed that consumers are rapidly moving from credit cards to mobile payment throughout retail, and operators must keep pace.

“In vending, we have believed that limited payment options have been a barrier to purchase when people don’t have change or cash, so operators have put in card readers,” Patel recalled. “But moving beyond the card reader to the phone is critical; people always have their phones. If they’re at a meeting or in the lunchroom, they may not have their purses or wallets, but they’ll have their phone  – and if they've forgotten it, they’ll go back and get it."

As PayRange continues to expand its capabilities and customize them to users in different segments, Patel observed that in the vending and laundry markets, consumers seek to save time. In the amusement market, by contrast, people are looking to spend time enjoyably, and this presents an opportunity to leverage the point of sale beyond payment in unique ways.

“The value proposition of amusements is to provide engaging, entertaining experiences to consumers,” Patel pointed out.  PayRange presently is working on making the payment transaction in an amusement enterprise a game within itself, incorporating loyalty, chance and surprise to engage consumers.

“In amusements, people will spend $20 to get a $5 toy. It’s not for the toy; it’s for the thrill and challenge of winning,” he pointed out. “We have to think about payments in the amusement industry as categorically different from vending or laundry by adding a thrill and a challenge that makes spending time fun.”