There are many new software upgrades in the remote management world of vending machines. As we move beyond COVID, there will remain residual desires to keep your equipment clean, well stocked and managed. Crane Remote Software solutions give you many options to control your vending business.
Crane is the industry leader in cashless, touch-less options for vending and game machines. GAD Vending is an authorized distributor for Crane in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.
Featuring enhanced recognition technology, faster note-to-note speed, and improved bar-code recognition, the Crane MEI® SC Advance™ offers a variety of cash box options to ensure best fit. Additional product enhancements can add functionality to this banknote validator resulting in tailored solutions for gaming, retail, financial service, or parking applications.
The SC Advance offers a lower cost of ownership with its reliable, field proven technology. Low jam rates and exceptional performance create more machine up-time resulting in higher revenue and increased user satisfaction.
Talk with GAD Vending about how the Crane Cashless Solutions can work for you!
With Alio, CPI presents an All-In-One cashless hardware solution for unattended payment. With a large touchscreen and customization user interface, operators can create an engaging user experience. Plus, Alio’s rugged outer-casing and protective Gorilla Glass protects hardware against vandalism and daily wear-and-tear. Alio is supported by Crane CPI’s cashless solution, including payment processing services and our cloud-based device management platform.
Industries that use Alio Cashless Solutions include electric vehicle charging, car washes, kiosks, fare collection, laundromat, cashless gaming, off street parking and arcades.
Visit with GAD Vending for options in cashless solutions, tokens and ATM solutions.
3 Ways Vending Is Providing Safer Retail – The Social Distancing Hero
From our partners at CPI Crane’s Cashless Solutions Division: You might be surprised to learn that the history of the vending machine goes back to first-century Roman Egypt, where Hero of Alexandria engineered a machine that accepted a coin and dispensed holy water. In modern times we’ve seen vending machines offer everything from postcards and stamps to candy, gum and cigarettes. Their popularity as beverage dispensers came with refrigeration and heating elements – and today we see an astounding array of products sold from vending machines. Making your way to the gate at an international airport you might pick up an iPad, a SIM card for your phone, a down jacket, a warm hamburger, and an aspirin – plus a cold bottle of water to help you swallow it!
Responding to the social distancing imperative presents multiple challenges for retail environments. We’ve seen limits on the number of people allowed into supermarkets, one-way aisles, distance markers at the checkout, food bars emptied, cafés and breakrooms closed, and Plexiglass shields erected around store personnel. These and other efforts by retailers to keep customers and staff safe and limit exposure are appreciated by all. But ideally, customers could shop for their essential items without interacting with a cashier or even going into a store. And retailers can make the ideal, real, with vending machines.
How can operators use their machines—the ultimate unattended retail model—to serve to the needs of social distancing? Read below to see how 3 retailers have already adapted.
The Meat Guy Who Was Ahead of the Social Distance Curve
The owner of Applestone Meats was ready for social distancing years before the pandemic brought the concept into the mainstream. Wanting to serve customers without a retail counter-service location, Joshua Applestone remembered the coin-operated machines once used in cafeteria-style restaurants in New York and Pennsylvania. Applestone searched for and found Crane Merchandising’s refrigerated delivery system, The Shopper, which allowed his customers to pull meat packages directly from their container. And to be ready for card acceptance, he added the 4-in-1 Plus cashless reader.
Applestone customers liked the convenient delivery method well enough before, but after the pandemic? “We thought society might take a while to warm up to the machines,” says Applestone, “but for the situation we’re all in [now], they’re the perfect solution.”
From Healthy Snacks to PPE Provider
Healzzy2GO, a Netherlands-based vending company, believes that snacking should be accessible, fun, and most importantly, healthy. With the challenges of staying safe in a global pandemic, “healthy options” takes on new meaning. Healzzy2GO decided to make personal protective equipment (PPE) as accessible to their customers as healthy snacks. They worked with Crane Merchandising Systems to adapt their vending machines to dispense facemasks, hand sanitizer, gloves, and other personal equipment. Custom graphics and media were placed on the machines to educate consumers about the product offering.
The first Healzzy2GO PPE machine debuted in May, providing shoppers at the Alexandrium Shopping Center in Rotterdam and Hoog Catharijne in Utrecht the protection they need to shop safely.
The Healthy Machine Serving Frontline Workers
Farmer’s Fridge, a New York-based vending startup, gained popularity by providing vend patrons with healthy options like salads in plastic jars and fresh wraps, instead of the usual candy and soda. When offices closed due to COVID-19, many Farmer’s fridge locations saw a precipitous drop in usage. But, as they say, when a door closes a window opens, and in this case, it was true. Farmer’s Fridge saw a surge in usage in hospital settings – where cafeterias were shut down to limit spread of the virus. To meet the demand, Farmer’s Fridge added over 18 machines to locations that included Northwestern Memorial Hospital, New York Presbyterian and the Javits Center field hospital. Farmer’s Fridge also supported the efforts of front-line workers by adding more than 60 mini fridges that served complimentary meals in hospital break rooms.
Vending machines are typically a last resort for healthcare workers, but due to their value proposition of removing the roadblocks to eating wholesome, delicious food, Farmer’s Fridge is now serving fresh meals to over 30,000 workers per week at hospitals across the U.S. One surgeon at UChicago tweeted: “Thank you @FarmersFridge for keeping the trauma/ICU team fed during #COVID19.”
Vending Moving Forward
How does an industry so firmly rooted in serving sweet treats and soft drinks recreate its persona as the hero of a pandemic? “The Convenience Services Industry is uniquely equipped to assist the nation in this time of crisis,” writes Carla Balakgie, president and CEO of the National Automatic Merchandising Association, in a letter to the White House and U.S. Congress. Balakgie cited the unique distribution system of unattended retail as “the greatest source of ‘contactless’ nourishment” for healthcare workers. In other words, the machine invented by a man called Hero can now live up to that name.
Are you ready to adapt your machine to serve the needs for health and safety in these times of crisis? Ask a member of our GAD Vending team how you can make seamless and safe payment a part of your pandemic vending strategy.
3 Additional Ways Owner/Operators Can Keep Their Machines COVID Clean
From Crane CPI Touchless Division: The public’s heightened concern for hygiene and safety has piqued interest in vending machines as an on-site sales solution that takes human-to-human contact out of the equation. You may find that your business is picking up, as a result, and that’s good news.
At the same time, operators may need to address customer concerns around hygiene and machine touchpoints. One top of mind solution on the brains of operators and OEMs alike is a “touchless” vending machine. While this kind of innovation isn’t out of the question, it will be one that takes time to develop and a sizable investment in new equipment to implement. At the very least, upon availability, we can expect it to require expensive adaptations to existing machines, or the requirement for new machines all together.
Instead, we’ve compiled best practices for operators looking to decrease touchpoints without a hefty pricetag. Read below for three ways to keep your machines and your customers safe.
1. Minimize existing customer touchpoints with contactless payment options
Vending machines may be more than a convenience – in some spaces, they currently serve as the only food source available to essential workers in hospitals and warehouses. Optimizing machines to serve all customer needs by accommodating any payment method they prefer to use is essential to a successful vending operation. Machines should take cash or credit cards at a minimum, and in the wake of COVID-19, there is a growing demand for contactless and mobile payment options.
Making contactless payment an option is a smart investment for unattended markets. A report by RTi Research showed contactless use up 30% post-COVID-19 as consumers look for ways to reduce their exposure to publicly shared surfaces. Switching to a card reader that accepts contactless payments is an easy fix, if they are not already enabled.
When upgrading machines to accommodate contactless payment, consider investing in cashless hardware that is compatible with mobile apps, as well. These apps enable customers to make their entire transaction using their phone, eliminating several payment touchpoints at once. After they’ve made their selection and paid for it in the app, they just grab their item and go.
2. Use digital media to guide customer behavior
Digital media, or advertisements at the point of sale, help to dramatically influence customer behavior, according to a study by CPI and Crane Medianet. Two goals can be achieved by using digital media screens on your vending machines:
First, screens can educate and inform consumers. Timely topics include best practices for social distancing, proper hand washing, and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Messaging can be used to explain how (or how often) machines are cleaned and disinfected, or alert customers to PPE available for sale inside the machine.
Second, screens with advertisements for available products can help consumers decide what to buy. Reducing the amount of time a customer spends interacting with the machine reduces their exposure.
3. Follow best practices for machine sanitation
Cleaning surfaces between each customer interaction is not practical in unattended retail, but operators can follow a basic set of guidelines to help keep machines clean and safe:
Any of your staff that interact with machines must practice appropriate hygiene, including wearing masks and gloves. Have them change their gloves between sites and change their facemask every four hours. Before and after interacting with machines at each site, route drivers or technicians should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, per CDC guidelines.
Prepare your machines
Coffee and refrigerated vending machines must have temperature levels checked and expired products discarded, as always, but also be sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect customer touchpoints at every opportunity – especially on high-traffic machines. Operators should instruct drivers or local site management on the proper sanitization of machine doors, screens, buttons, and payment peripherals.
Follow appropriate guidelines
Check with organizations like NAMA and EVA and follow their recommended guidelines for operators preparing to reopen their machines. Operators should update their safety practices regularly to maintain compliance with local governments and agencies.
Take immediate action to solve an immediate problem
Touchless vending is on the horizon, and that’s an exciting prospect for the future. But the hygiene concerns raised by COVID-19 are an immediate problem for which operators need an immediate solution. Operators can take the above steps right now to keep customers and staff as safe as possible while they continue to provide convenient access to essential items. Contact GAD Vending in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri for more information on the latest Crane Vending solutions for vending machines and touchless payment solutions.
Vending Machines – A Controlled, Safe Method to Provide Food and Beverages to Consumers – Part I
Why Vending is the Ultimate Controlled Dispensing Solution for the Convenience Services Industry
As organizations modify their operations and procedures to best keep employees and customers safe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping across our nation and the world, the need to safely provide food and beverage options remains critical.
According to the National Merchandising Association (NAMA), “Through our unique food distribution system, our industry can be the greatest source of “contactless” nourishment to over 40 million consumers with food and beverages daily, and it is all accomplished in an unattended retail environment, often with round the clock availability.”
Federal and State governments, along with the CDC, are encouraging social distancing, including reducing or eliminating face-to-face encounters with alternative options such as contactless delivery and self-serve options. In workplaces, this includes re-evaluating how food and beverages are offered to employees. For example, in the past weeks, many organizations have shuttered cafeterias to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Recently the NIH and CDC released information on the Coronavirus’ lifespan on surfaces.
- Airborne: 30 minutes to 3 hours
- Cardboard: 24 hours
- Stainless Steel: 2 days
- Plastic: 3 days
These guidelines have prompted many organizations to further re-evaluate self-serve convenience service options deployed in their organizations such as unattended retail markets. The risks in these applications is that the food and beverage products are not controlled in such that consumers can pick-up products and return them to the shelves for the next consumer to handle. With COVID-19 having up to a three-day lifespan on items such as bottled beverages and clam shell salad containers, unattended retail applications may pose a risk of being a spreading point within organizations.
Unlike unattended retail markets where consumers can access and return the food and beverage products, vending requires consumers to purchase the product(s) before the consumer is able to touch the product(s). Just think in a micro market setting how many people before you may have picked up that plastic bottled beverage or salad in a plastic clam shell before you and put it back on the shelf.
Besides the product itself having the opportunity to be handled by multiple people in a micro market application, another consideration is the cleanliness of micro market hardware itself. For example, when consumers access products in micro markets they often come in contact with shelving holding the product. You have risk of direct exposure on the shelf itself, as well as transfer exposure from the product. Being full secured access, this is not a concern or risk when it comes to vending, as only the operator has access to the interior of the machine including the shelving.
Vending offers the ultimate secured access solution and allows organizations to safely provide employees and consumers with food and beverage products, with little to no risk of contamination from numerous other individuals handling the product.
According to the European Vending Association, “Vending machines are a reliable and safe way to obtain food and beverages. Vending machine operators place food safety as top priority in their daily service, and are trained in protection against infections. During the current health crisis, operators have also put in place measures to ensure that the disinfection of machine surfaces is also carried out as regularly as possible.”
For more information or other equipment questions about USI Vending machines in the Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri area; please contact GAD Vending at (402) 553-2812
CORA is the next generation retrofit telemeter from Crane. As an upgraded hardware solution, CORA is designed and built with a number of high tech features that maximize efficiency while keeping your machines up and running at peak performance. GAD Vending is a Crane Cashless distributor in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri.
With COVID concerns, unattended machines may not be as appealing to consumers as they once were. Consider this – go touchless with Crane Cashless Solutions.
As people go back to their routines, we expect a few things to change. In the past, people were twice as likely to have a phone on them vs. cash. And, 1 in 5 consumers didn’t care cash at all. With COVID concerns, expect mobile pay on even the smallest purchases to increase.
CRANE FLEXIBILITY AND CHOICE
The most flexible, user-friendly solution for cashless vending:
- Vending consumer can use their mobile app to purchase and pay.
- Powerful cloud based reporting and analytics tool enables performance tracking for cash and cashless sales.
- Remote management of vending machines for improved operational efficiency.
- Accessible deposits that correspond to the cashless sales for increased accountability.
- Designed as a flexible solution capable of offering online services such as remote management of planograms, advertisements, cash discounts and promotions.
- Connect to payment systems for major card acceptance, mobile pay and premium service options.
PLUG AND PLAY
The most advanced retrofit telemetry device. Crane Cashless units are module for easy upgrades. And, have multiple USB ports for additional beacons and cameras.
Crane Cashless systems can be retrofitted into most vending machines, claw game machines and more.
Consumer confidence in touchless ordering and payment are worth the retrofit alone. The added management reports, inventory management and remote capabilities are the added bonus to your machine business. Ask GAD Vending for a demonstration today!