[Business Startup News] The Game-Changer for the Asia-Pacific Vending Market

Illena Yu
September 19, 2019

***This article is a story curated by SparkAmpLab that can be shared or modified for re-post***

Asia-Pacific’s smart vending machine market is about to explode to a record $10 billion growth in about five years. This growth is sparking an all-time high demand for automated retail units (ARUs). While the inflow of new and intelligent vending machines is apparent, Yallvend, a Taiwan-based startup is offering a simple solution to upgrade antiquated and existing vending machines to compete with the bright and shiny crop. The upgrade of older machines include the ability to accept mobile payments and to perform cloud-based stock management. With a rapidly growing industry of smart and automated retail units, Yallvend’s solution seems to be a cost-effective alternative requiring no substantial hardware or software modification to the current vending machines.

The need for smart vending 

According to the latest report published by ABI Research, the Asia-Pacific region will be home to at least 4.5 million smart vending machines by 2023. Moreover, KPMG’s startup trends noted digital payments as the second most popular technology trend in the past few months.

Cash payment systems are becoming obsolete as payment through smartphones becomes increasingly common—leading to less people carrying change for ARUs. Integrating a mobile-payment unit in a vending machine will make it more customer-friendly and inviting for those potential buyers who have stopped carrying cash and coins. The demand for ARUs could increase even more as more people become aware of the smart vending options available to them. 

In addition, recent innovations, like the handmade pizza vending machine launched in the UK, strongly indicate that the retail vending machine market will continue to thrive in the future. Furthermore, rising environmental threats require a sustainable approach toward business and manufacturing. Upgrading existing vending machines with the latest technology is a highly sustainable tactic when compared to replacing them with newer machines. 

Right time, right place

In Taiwan alone, there are 300,000 vending machines generating a sale of nearly $400 billion NTD. Yallvend’s timing couldn’t be better as the industry of existing vending machines is in desperate need of a cost-efficient defense to face the upcoming wave of smart vending machines. Since not all businesses can afford to replace existing vending machines with new ones, Yallvend’s ‘Vending Upgrade Kits’ are a plausible answer.

So, what does the ‘Vending Upgrade Kit’ (VUK) do?

Simply put, the VUK adds the functionality of accepting mobile payment through options, such as Google Pay, Line Pay, JKOPay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay. It is a compact kit that comes with a 4G antenna and a QR code sticker that customers scan to pay for vendor items with their device.

After the mobile payment feature, cloud-based stock management is the next significant aspect where current vending machines may benefit from a Yallvend upgrade. A simple interface that displays information about the inventory and generates accounting reports results in better stock management and improved operations. 

The founders of Yallvend have years of expertise in vending machine protocols, coin changers, and other kinds of unmanned business machines. Moreover, the startup chose to be free of payment concerns between customers and vending companies. Instead, it makes revenue from the one-time sale of a ‘Vending Upgrade Kit’ and a monthly fee for the management of mobile payments and the cloud-based inventory.

“.. the communication protocol in machines is like a black box that only a few key companies in the world can control and retrieve information from. Our engineers have worked in the industry for over 10 years and now we’re building a bridge between traditional vending machine business and booming mobile payment,” said Yallvend’s marketing agent Sandra Chen in an interview. 

This humble solution, engineered by a team of experts at this Taiwanese startup, might potentially be the key to unlocking a simple and scalable hack that can make existing vendor machines future-ready and foolproof. Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines are some target markets for this game-changer in ARUs. With a new generation of smart vending machines coming soon, now is the right time for Yallvend to cash in and offer its services to the existing vending machines that are much in need of an upgrade.

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