Vending Machines

Unattended Retail Comes Full Circle

Automats delivered a roast beef and mashed potato dinner from coin-operated vending machines in the 1940s and 1950s. Today, self-service restaurants deliver quinoa via sleek display cases and accept plastic cards and mobile wallets via unattended checkout stations. “Vending machines” aka unattended retail has come a long way, baby – and now fuels a $120B segment of the retail market. The PYMNTS Unattended Retail Tracker, powered by USA Technologies, tracks all the trends, and profiles 14 of the movers and shakers in this red-hot space.

There’s retail – and there’s unattended retail.

Gone are the days where the only things that a person could get out of a vending machine were salty snacks, soda and cigarettes – and needed to use coins and cash to pay for them.

Today’s unattended retail space is exploding as all segments of retail and food services examine the ways in which “unattended” enables new revenue opportunities. The ability to use plastic cards and mobile wallets – and not quarters and dollar bills – only greases those skids.

The February issue of the Unattended Retail TrackerTM, powered by USA Technologies, examines the mergers and acquisitions that are moving the landscape forward, how micro-markets are reshaping food services, the role of loyalty in prompting purchase – and profiles 14 players who are all competing for share in the space.


This month’s cover story features a discussion between MPD CEO Karen Webster and USA Technologies’ SVP of Marketing Maeve Duska and Senior Vice President of Sales and Business Development Mike Lawlor about how and why unattended retail is a segment that retailers are paying a lot of attention to now.

“There was a time when market share for vending was shrinking because people were looking for a more customized experience in the store. But what's happened with online shopping, mobile shopping and smartphones is that retailers have come to learn that they can still deliver that customized experience to the consumer without having to have a person standing physically in front of them,” explained Maeve Duska, SVP of Marketing at USA Technologies.

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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 makes sense for our audience: Food & Beverage, Service Vending, Remote Retail, Parking, 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.



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.