The Growing Importance of Technology for Operators: Key Takeaways from Vending Market Watch’s Webinar

Last week, we attended vending market watch’s webinar “State of the Vending & micro market industry report.” The discussion, moderated by industry veteran Bob Tullio, covered many topics ranging from trends in the workplace to the latest industry sales data to technology. 

A lot of good points and insights were shared during the conversation. Perhaps the biggest takeaway was this: the future is looking brighter for operators. There’s still progress to make as far as recovering from the pandemic goes, but the idea that things are trending in the right direction was a sentiment shared amongst the panel of experts. That’s great news.

But there’s a caveat here: even though the future looks good, much of the growth operators can experience will also be, in part, contingent upon the adoptance of technology.

Vending, for instance, was largely reliant upon hard cash for many years, Nick Montano pointed out. But after the pandemic, operators don’t seem to want to handle cash as much anymore. As a result, adopting cashless technology and tools provided by companies like Cantaloupe and Nayax will be important to future growth for operators. 

When asked by Mr. Tullio, “Do you think technology can level the playing field for a small to medium sized operator?,” Pete Carmain of Nayax responded by saying: “Absolutely, yes…[technology] is closing that gap by making the small-medium size guy competitive.” 

At the core of Mr. Carmain’s point is that technology brings efficiency to operations, which allows operators to compete at levels they couldn’t or struggled with before.

The conversation eventually turned to the topic of industry consolidation and the factors that impact it. Part of it is a generational shift. The children of a lot of “mom and pop” operators don’t have the desire to maintain the business long term. Another factor centers around the use of technology. For those entering the industry, they’re younger and more tech savvy and are eager to use technology as new solutions for growth.

This growing theme about the reliance on technology as not just a “nice to have,” but as a necessary component to growth focuses on a universal truth: change is constant. For years, the industry lagged behind others in regards to the use of technology. But moving forward, operators serious about growing their business will need to consider how technology can help with their goals.