Four Questions about Cellular Vending with Virginia Commonwealth University
As Manager of Campus Card Services, Patti Murdock knows a thing or two about creating convenience for the cardholders at Virginia Commonwealth University. VCU was among the first campuses to roll out vending readers that accept both the VCU ID and debit/credit cards. She recently shared the process and the results with us.
What was the primary driver for you to move to cellular vending? What did you need to do?
Actually it was a request from Pepsi and Canteen. Aramark Vending is now inquiring about replacing their readers.
To get the ball rolling, I had to do three things: meet with Pepsi to come up with an implementation plan, work out the addendum details to our License and Service agreement, and complete the CBORD Cellular Vending Questionnaire.
Changing out the readers was a very smooth transition. Pepsi took care of the installs and testing over the summer. It probably took about a month to do 170+ machines.
Have your sales/commissions increased?
Yes. In the past we only had readers on vending machines in high traffic areas, mainly where students were. Now we have readers on almost all the Pepsi and snack machines. This means we have more sales which means we receive more commission.
Any further plans for adoption, or are you installed everywhere you want to be? How many readers?
All the Pepsi machines—171—at VCU and VCU Health now have cellular readers. Canteen has cellular readers on about half of their 73 machines. Aramark has just approached us about installing the readers on their machines. So, we're not quite finished yet...but we're close!
What advice would you give to other campuses who are considering making this move?
Like everyone else, I was concerned about a decline in our SVC usage and service fees. But because we have almost tripled the number of machines, we anticipate that our SVC plan usage and service fees will continue to increase. Plus, I don't have to send a service tech out every time we have a machine down. I just notify Pepsi or Canteen and they take care of it.