How To Make 20 Billion Quarters Digital

Coin operated laundromats are a thriving industry, producing $5 billion in revenue a year, mostly in the form of quarters – that’s a lot of quarters. In this issue of the PYMNTS Unattended Retail Tracker, PYMNTS spoke with Michael Schantz, President of Setomatic Systems, about why the addition of credit, debit and mobile payments could mean even more revenue for the industry. You’ll find that along with the latest news from around the industry and a directory of 59 players in the Unattended Retail space in this month’s Tracker.

One thing’s for sure. A visit to a laundromat requires a big bag of quarters to get through a few loads. And lots of people bring lots of quarters to those laundromats each and every year. Laundromats spin up nearly $5 billion in revenue each year, according to the Coin Laundry Association, but one laundromat operator says that there’s more money to be spun up.  

Michael Schantz, President of Setomatic Systems, thinks so. His company is working to give laundromat customers more payment options, including the ability to pay for their laundry with credit and debit cards and mobile wallets, via the SpyderWash System. For the August PYMNTS Unattended Retail TrackerTM, powered by USA Technologies, PYMNTS caught up with Schantz to discuss why he thinks the addition of new forms of payment acceptance could boost that $5 billion revenue to new heights.

Here’s a preview:

Schantz said that a large part of the reason he believes card and mobile payments can grow laundromat revenue is the convenience the new payment methods pose to customers.

Machines can range in price from $2 per load to as high as $12 per load, and most need to be paid for with quarters and accept payment only in quarters. He pointed out that finding and gathering those quarters and loading them into the machines can be a frustrating and time-consuming process.

“It’s not very convenient for a customer to sit there and find and insert that many quarters,” Schantz said. “So we said, ‘Let’s develop a product that will allow the customer to pay any way they want.’ It allows the customer to use coins if they so desire, but they can also use the debit or credit card that’s already in their pocket or a mobile wallet.”

Around the Unattended Retail world

With the unattended retail market set to grow by nearly $30 billion over the next five years, according to a new study from BCC Research entitled “Self-Service Markets: ATMs, Kiosks, Vending Machines,” major players from the unattended retail space recently debuted new types of vending machines and products designed to capture a piece of the expanding market.

One example, the 24/7 Pizza Box, a pizza-dispensing vending machine complete with its own oven, made its American debut recently. Meanwhile, Apollo General Management agreed to buy Redbox, the company that brought DVD and video game rentals to vending machines for $1.6 billion from Outerwall.

Similarly, Dawn Dickson, founder of Flat Out of Heels, a company that sells rollable flat shoes from vending machines for women looking to ditch their high heeled shoes in a pinch, is betting on that market growth. Dickson recently said that there are some great opportunities to sell traditional products like clothes and shoes in nontraditional environments such as vending machines. 

To download the August edition of the Unattended Retail TrackerTM, powered by USA Technologies, click the button below …


About the Tracker

The Unattended Retail TrackerTM, powered by USA Technologies, tracks the movers and shakers in this space and ranks and scores the providers using this new channel to respond to changing consumer needs. We’ve sliced this ecosystem into the distinct categories that make sense for our audience: Food & BeverageVending, Service VendingRemote RetailParking, and Restaurant & Hospitality.

The provider directory profiles key players in the space, and ranks them on the basis of the completeness of their solutions: markets served, technology solutions offered, payments accepted, and the security standards achieved. If we’ve missed you and you’d like to be included, please click here.