BITTNER VENDING FINDS CASHLESS VENDING GROWS REVENUES AND PROFITABILITY
Headquartered in Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands about 60 miles southwest of Pittsburgh is the headquarters of Bittner Vending, a thriving, full-line vending company serving organizations across a broad range of industries including manufacturing, professional services, healthcare and education. From humble beginnings 35 years ago, operating about 50 machines, Bittner Vending has grown into a vending operator with about 3,500 machines operating throughout Central Pennsylvania, Northern Maryland and Northern West Virginia. In addition to its Davidsville headquarters, Bittner operates out of five physical locations in Saxton,Bedford, State College and Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Its offerings include traditional vending machines, micro markets, bottled water service and coffee service.
Bittner Vending understands that vending companies need to deploy smart vending technology to increase efficiency and profitability and to eliminate all barriers to customers making purchases from its machines. That’s why in the course of a conversation, Kim Bittner, president of Bittner Vending, frequently talks about “Cantalouping” its machines. “There’s no question,” he says, “that if you’re a vending company and you want to survive, you have to invest in advanced vending technology – particularly technology that provides you with remote monitoring capabilities and that offers your customers multiple payment options.” To that end, Bittner Vending selected Cantaloupe Systems to provide the technology to drive its growth and enhance its customer service.
Most recently, Bittner Vending has been focused on enabling its machines to accept cashless payments using Cantaloupe Systems’ Seed Cashless™ product.
“Technology, especially cashless technology, is really essential in the vending business today,” Kim observes. “People don’t carry cash as much as they used to, but they always seem to have credit cards and mobile devices. We’ve grown our business, in large part, by focusing on superior customer service. To continue delivering that level of service, we need to offer cashless payment as an option.”
CANTALOUPE SYSTEMS MEETS BITTNER VENDING TECHNOLOGY CRITERIA
Bittner Vending chose to deploy cashless technology on its machines using Cantaloupe Systems Seed Cashless product after researching the available technologies on the market. “We were looking for a technology provider that understood our business, that had been in the industry for a while and that we felt confident would be around for a while to support us and help us grow,” explains Bittner. “We also spoke with a number of other vending operators who recommended Cantaloupe Systems.”
The company began its process of going cashless with a test project. It implemented Seed Cashless and installed credit card readers on a small number of glass-front drink machines in different locations and the results were dramatic. The company saw a 44 percent increase in its business on those machines.
Bittner is now in the process of implementing Seed Cashless on all of its glass-front drink machines. It currently has about 500 machines running Seed Cashless and plans to implement on all 3,500 machines in the next year or two. It is also working furiously to planogram its cashless enabled machines to ensure that they each feature the optimal product mix. Bittner Vending’s expectation is that the combination of the ideal product mix and the ability to accommodate both cash and cashless payment will drive even more sales and grow margins.
Kim is also excited about the fact that Seed Cashless allows customers to make purchases with their mobile devices, using Google Wallet and Apple Pay. “So far, we haven’t seen as many cashless purchases with mobile devices as with credit cards, but it’s starting to catch on and we expect that mobile payment will grow tremendously.”
Bittner Vending is also seeing exceptional bottom line results. Not only is cashless payment a convenience for customers, but it lessens the issue of price sensitivity.
Many customers who would not purchase a higher priced item with cash don’t think twice about purchasing it if all they have to do is swipe their credit cards. According to Justin Bittner, a second-generation vending operator, “Almost all of our cashless machines have shown an upward surge of 12 to 15 percent in terms of the number of items sold. In a few locations like universities, hospitals and call centers where our customer base tends to be younger and more tech savvy, we’ve seen a bump in units of almost 30 percent.”
Additionally, there have been other measurable results. Less cash in the machines mitigates the problem of theft in certain locations where machines are often burglarized. Bittner Vending has also seen the cost of operating its money room drop by at least 10 percent. Machine maintenance costs related to bill and coin acceptors have also decreased.
A COMPETITIVE DIFFERENTIATOR
With cashless capability, Bittner Vending has been able to retain customers, as well as win new business. “By offering cashless,” he adds, “we are able to provide customers with a simplified method of payment as well as a fresh and exciting new experience that other companies cannot offer.”
“Once our machines are fully ‘Cantalouped,’ we expect to see additional benefits – greater efficiency, more cost savings, increased revenues and profitability. Vending technology is here to stay and it’s proving its value. We expect our relationship with Cantaloupe Systems to continue as the technology continues to evolve. We consider them a valuable business partner.”