Apple Pay's Unattended Retail Boost

Advertising is designed to drive sales but it’s often tough to close the loop and prove the point. It’s a question that USA Technologies, a leader in digitizing payments for unattended retail, wanted answered with respect to the use of mobile payments to buy goodies in vending machines.

As they say, survey says … it does … and for a very particular mobile payments provider: Apple Pay.

USA Technologies released new data from a study that targeted digital, point of sale advertising promoting the use of Apple Pay at those unattended points of sale. Early indicators report that there is a strong connection between the use of Apple Pay and increased sales at these retail locations.

The study, which was initiated in March 2016, involve rolling out digital advertising through its ePort Interactive platform and digital touchscreen cashless device focusing on Apple Pay on 35 select machines in NYC and Lafayette, Louisiana.

Here are the highlights:

Go Big, Go Digital

USA Tech's results show that enhancing the digital checkout experience at a vending machine or self-service retail vendor increases the likelihood that a consumer will reach for their mobile phone at checkout. Maeve McKenna Duska, SVP Marketing at USA Tech, told Karen Webster that the digital display simulates the experience of using a mobile device and an app, which makes the reach for the mobile phone not that far out of reach.

Spend Big, Go Mobile

When those consumers use their iPhones enabled with Apple Pay, they’re likely to spend more, according to the results of the survey. After being prompted by the ad to use Apple Pay, consumers did, and it resulted in the following:

  • A 26% increase in overall transactions
  • A 22% increase in total revenue
  • A 12% increase in total average ticket
  • An 89% increase in revenue through contactless purchases, including Apple Pay

Go Mobile (Payments), Get Sticky

McKenna Duska said that even after the tests concluded, the increases in transactions, revenue and average ticket continued to stick.

"The Apple Pay usage continues to be steady. We're not seeing a falloff, which is great because the hope is they are buying more expensive things. The results suggest that they do when they are using Apple Pay and their iPhones," she said.

As part of the tests, USA Tech leveraged equipment installations that currently displayed traditional, printed Apple Pay decals and ePort G series devices, and then swapped the POS hardware with digital touchscreen hardware connected to its interactive platform. From there, the test devices were preloaded with five different marketing messages promoting Apple Pay usage only.

These tests were conducted at vending machines that could also take digital and contactless payments. Apple Pay was the only mobile payments service represented in this specific test.

“Whether an ad at point of sale serves as a simple reminder that a consumer can use Apple Pay to make a purchase, or educates and informs them of how easy, secure and private the mobile payments service is, consumers are responding positively as they buy more and spend more, more often,” McKenna Duska added.

USA Tech’s study proves the power of advertising a particular brand, at the exclusion of others, to influence consumers to change their behavior.

“We believe, speed and convenience is often a top priority for consumers, especially when it comes to small dollar purchases. We believe the unattended markets we serve will continue to drive Apple Pay use – and that consumer awareness campaigns at the point-of-sale are key to accelerating adoption even further," McKenna Duska added.

She also attributes the rise in usage on these machines to the engaging experience that the addition of the touchscreen delivers. That, when combined with the addition of the Apple Pay prompt, drew in consumers to using mobile payments at the POS.

“Cracking the code on consumer engagement is critical for retailers, and self-serve retailers are no exception,” said Tom Murn, chief executive officer, The Answer Group, one of the country’s largest vending companies whose machines were part of the study.

"By integrating digital advertising and other consumer engagement initiatives, retailers will be able to move beyond the transaction and be ready and able to benefit as consumers enjoy the best user experience,” he added.

USA Technologies began implementing NFC technology into its cashless payments solution approximately 10 years ago. Beginning in January 2015, USA Tech’s integration of Apple Pay at their digital POS gave Apple Pay users 200,000 places to use their mobile wallets. As of June 1, USA Tech now enables consumer to make contactless mobile payments at more than 300,000 NFC-equipped machines nationwide.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.

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