Integration, “appyfication” and digitisation

The vending software market is maturing and while some operators are still playing catch up, most now see the potential to invest in order to improve operations.

Software companies in particular are seeing the benefits of developing integrations to allow operators’ external solutions to work seamlessly with vending software. One of the leading vending software companies SB Software, the makers of Vendmanager vending management system (VMS), is making strides in integration solutions and its customers are beginning to see the benefits. SB Software managing director Simon Black said: “Most operators are already moving well beyond the basics of getting the right VMS in place because their further investment unleashes additional benefits. “Once they have overcome the initial hesitation about engaging with technology in the first place, they can’t get enough. Why would they? It’s better than self-financing. It increases profit as well as visibility, efficiency and customer service.”

Simon Black

INTEGRATION Simon adds: “One of the consequences for us in practical terms is that we are developing ever-more integrations, making it straightforward for clients to combine Vendmanager with the external solutions of their choice. To date these have spanned accounting, stock control,

warehousing, courier dispatch, CRM, and e-commerce with interoperability being a key factor. Significant integration achievements range from hook-ups with the

likes of the Sage, the accounting suite, to systems such as LightSpeed the ground-breaking pick-to-light system that is described as the first-ever integration of its kind in Europe. One of the latest integration solutions is Xero, an online accounting solution said to be rapidly gaining popularity across UK SMEs including in the vending sector. It is more evidence that clients are looking for innovative solutions to help run their businesses, and increasingly integrations are the right answer.

KEEPING VENDING APPY There have also been other innovations in vending software in the past 12 months, notably from UK-based startup Kwikpay which has introduced what is referred to as “appyfication” and digitisation for the vending industry. Kwikpay has established a great reputation as a marketplace for mobile top-up gaming top-up, digital services and most recently for electric vehicle charging through its app. Now in association with Vendekin, a US- based startup focused on vending digitisation and automation, Kwikpay is bringing smart vending to the UK.

Kwikpay powers operators and brands to easily transport their

existing traditional vending machines into an app. Consumers can select and pay on the app via a touch-free cashless experience. The intuitive app allows for multiple vends in a single transaction and does instant refunds if the products are not dispensed. Operators can have end-to-end control and visibility of their vending operations while brands have a better understanding of their consumers' needs, and the traditional vending industry can be transformed into an end-to-end digitally progressive ecosystem. Neeraj Bhatia, CEO of Kwikpay says: "With this solution, operators

and brands can easily transport their existing vending machines into the app, run loyalty programmes, entice repeat orders and run promotions." There is no need for an extensive overhaul of vending machines, or even internet connectivity at the machine. Additionally, the solution works seamlessly with any existing card readers and standalone vending management software that might already be in use. For operators the benefits of investing in the latest vending

software solutions are clear. It’s not a question of if, but when to take the plunge and make a business decision that could well put you ahead of the competition.

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