CHICAGO — Coin-operated laundry equipment has been the standard for years but the use of digital, cashless payment continues to surge as consumers become more entrenched in its conveniences. But what’s involved in converting a coin-based operation to one whose payment acceptance is based on credit/debit/store value card or a mobile device?
Part 1 of this article touched on the store owner’s role up to and following installation of equipment designed to accept the alternative payment form when converting to card or mobile payment. Part 2 addressed the extent of conversion and the significance of instructional signage.
SUPPORT WHEN IT’S NEEDED
The management benefits of cashless payment systems are well documented and can, depending on the system chosen, include real-time reporting; the ability to start machines or issue refunds remotely; change vend prices to a penny increment or schedule time-of-day pricing; broad promotional and marketing capabilities; and much more.
“The main management benefits of a non-coin payment system are, first and foremost, information and control,” says Stacey Cooper, general manager – retail, KioSoft. “A payment system provides store owners with much higher levels of information than coins do. Payment systems can inform store owners not only what the most popular cycle selections for their machines are, but when they are happening, and who their best customers are.”
Post-conversion support is critical, because as good as technology can be, it can fail like everything else mechanical in the store, says Steve Marcionetti, president of Card Concepts Inc. (CCI), which makes products for card and mobile payment.
“Having access to a 24/7 support team with live people on the phone should be standard place with all systems, but store owners should verify,” he says. “Beyond the live help, access to user manuals, install documentation, and troubleshooting guides should also be easy to access by store owners.”
And take into account the vendor’s history in providing payment solutions, he adds: “Making sure the vendor has a long track record will most likely ensure that they will be there for years to come to provide updates and support.”
Whatever company a store owner chooses, it’s important that they have “vast experience in interfacing with all the different brands/makes/models of washers and dryers,” says John Kelly, director of sales for Setomatic Systems’ SpyderWash, which provides card and mobile payment among its options.
“Post-conversion support and building that trust with your customer is far more important than the initial sale itself,” he says. “Anyone can sell a product, but the support that comes with it afterwards, is what sets a payment company apart from their competition. It is very fulfilling when a single store owner becomes very successful, and then becomes a multi-store owner.”
“Once customers experience the efficiency of conducting transactions on their phone, they actually do more laundry than with coin-only machines,” says Steve White, SMB sales manager for PayRange. “Conventional thinking has been that people only have so much laundry to do, but the way they do it changes when there is no payment barrier. Customers are no longer bound to the amount of coins in their pocket.”
Oleg Stepanov, business development manager for Mitech Integrated Systems, developer of the Laundroworks card system, recommends operators visit stores with such payment systems and do their laundry there to get the full experience before making a decision about converting their store from coin.
“It’s transformative, especially if you completely replace the coin drops,” he says. “We’ve had customers report that the conversion has changed their life.”
Miss an earlier part of this article? You can read it here: Part 1 — Part 2
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].