Like many other things over the last two years, we adapted our EVEX event to the current situation and needs from our members, and therefore, instead of having a stand-alone event, we decided to combine it with Venditalia, the largest vending show around the world. Since we did not want to lose the essence of EVEX, we made many efforts to offer a highly interesting conference part over three days with numerous experts from the industry. The several panel discussions were mainly targeted at both vending & OCS operators and newcomers to the industry, trying to deliver insights about recent developments in the market and to share fact-based experiences from professionals. The outcome of those discussions was truthfully excellent and we could draw some interesting conclusions that we would like to share with you.
In the discussion about cashless payments all panelists agreed that the demand for electronic payments have accelerated since the outbreak of the pandemic and that it has become common now to install payment terminals open to both National and International card schemes. Prices for transactions have dropped over recent years and currently several manufacturers offer solutions including the acquiring aspect which can help operators to get more transparency in the payment processing. It came also out of the discussion that offering cashless payments was a way to secure the loyalty of younger consumers to vending since they do not carry cash anymore and to increase the revenue from 15 to 30% depending on the site location.
Cashless is certainly related to telemetry and several other digital aspects in the operating business. With one of the panelists who has nearly 100% of his machines connected with telemetry and to an ERP system, it was good to hear the field experience of an operator and to get to know the advantages of being digital. The conclusion was quite clear: optimisation, efficiency, cost reduction and increase of the margin.
During Venditalia we also had the chance to see a lot of new solutions which were not or only partially present in the last edition in 2018. Indeed, Micromarkets and smart fridges are popping out a bit everywhere and several manufacturers offer interesting solutions. The panelists of that particular discussion explained in detail this new business concept and the opportunities it can generate for a classic vending operator. A well-known International operator is currently making the switch to become a foodtech company and is investing heavily in unattended food & beverage services. The question is how far can he go without becoming a retail company and how can he deliver an extra service which makes him special.
Certainly, all these new solutions are there to satisfy the post-covid consumer expectations where branding and frequent novelties are key for success. Two well-known bottlers gave very interesting insights about how especially younger consumers consume on-the-go and that cold tea and energy drinks are still more demanded than coffee for that specific generation.
Finally, we also wanted to stress the opportunities of doing business with point-of-use water dispensers. It was fascinating to hear that with the stronger demand of healthier lifestyles from the consumer side, our industry could deliver tailored services and even create an added-value for high quality or carbonated water and therefore not be ashamed to even ask a price for it.
In the framework of the EVEX conference programme we also gave every day the floor to our representatives of the Ukrainian vending industry who shared with the audience their terrible and sometimes hard-breaking experiences and who asked for support to rebuild their businesses severely affected by the war. The EVA was honoured to host its Ukrainian friends and will collaborate with them over the next months to organise the financial and material support.
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