Touchless technology for vending machines isn’t new, but it’s possible you’ll be seeing it for the first time soon at a vending machine near you.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to think about surfaces that needed to be frequently cleaned. Vending machines can be those surfaces, but as Vagabond CMO Juan Jorquera noted, there is an easy solution that has been around for some time: Going touchless.

“The technology is available, and it has been available and compatible with 80%-90% of the machines already out in the field, “Jorquera said. “Partnering with SandenVendo makes that scalability and that deployment even easier because they do have hundreds of thousands of machines out there already, and we’re able to tackle the right machine in partnership with the operators, with the accounts that know they need touchless.”

With the pandemic and its quarantine orders also sending vending machine sales plummeting, the demand for new machines hasn’t been high. But Mike Weisser, President & CEO of SandenVendo, says the good news for operators of the 4.3 million vending machines in operation in the United States is that it’s easy to retrofit existing machines.

“The overwhelming majority are capable of having this technology upgraded onto those units,” Weisser said. “So, once we consider not just new production units, but the ability to deploy on existing units, we have a little bit clearer image of the scalability of touchless throughout our markets.”

American consumers may not be ready for machines like those in China with facial recognition, but paying with their phone and picking the product up from a drawer may be exactly what they need to feel comfortable returning to their previous habits when getting a snack or a drink.

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