Monthly Archives: March 2014

Winter Affiliate Meeting a Success in Tampa

On February 6th and 7th, USConnect held its Winter Affiliate Meeting in Tampa, usconnect winter affiliate meetingFlorida. Representatives from 23 of the current affiliate companies took part in the
meeting. Twelve of USConnect’s strategic supplier companies also attended, for a
total of over 70 attendees.

Meeting sessions focused on vending machine connectivity, social media interaction, branding initiatives, micro markets, cashless vending, consumer promotions, and national account sales. Supplier sessions showcased the industry-leading
technologies used by the affiliate companies, including cashless vending and the
USConnect Rewards Card. Additional sessions included presentations by the
strategic suppliers on strategic planning and digital marketing. Attendees also had
the opportunity to learn about new products, including the new, custom-roasted
coffee, Route 66.  route 66 coffee

Carmen Gorniak, USConnect’s registered dietitian, discussed The Right Choice program and the need for a continued emphasis on healthy vending and premium, fresh food choices for micro markets and dining venues.   Meeting attendees also heard an update on the rapidly expanding national account sales program, with the signing of three major national accounts representing over 100 facilities nationwide.

Want to learn more about USConnect and discover the nation′s only wireless integrated food service network? Request more information here.

 

Tasty Deals with the USConnect OneCard

Need a snack, but watching your wallet? Check out the current specials on your USConnect OneCard!

  • Buy 3 Lays Brand Kettle Cooked Jalapeno Chips, get 1 free
  • 25% off of Sabra Hummus
  • 20% off of 3 Musketeers Brand Candy
  • 30% off of Snickers Ice Cream
  • $0.25 off of Welch’s Fruit Snacks (Tangy Fruits, Island Fruits, or Grape Fruits)
  • Rice Krispie Treats: Buy 3, get 1 Free specialk201401
  • Buy any three Special K Cracker Chips, get 1 free.
  • Buy any 16oz or larger Diet Pepsi product with a bag of Sun Chips and get 50% off your Sun Chips purchase.
  • Buy any 16oz or larger Aquafina with a bag of Rold Gold and get 50% off your
    Rold Gold purchase.
  • Buy any flavor DORITOS™ Brand products and save 20%
  • Buy any GATORADE™ Brand product and save $0.25.
  • Buy any LIPTON™ Brand products (16oz or Larger) and save 20%.
  • Buy any M&M’s™ Brand candy products and get 20% OFF.
  • Buy any DOVE™ Brand chocolate candy products and SAVE 25%.
  • Buy any SNAPPLE™ Brand products and save $0.30.

 

For full terms and conditions, www.usconnectme.com/promotions.

Did you know? With your USConnect OneCard, you earn points on each purchase.
Cardholders earn 5 reward points for every dollar spent. Redeem those points
online for cash back on your account.

Remember, your rewards also give back. At participating locations, 1.5% of every
dollar spent on your OneCard goes to the charity of your choice. Now that’s truly
rewarding!

Technology, Customer Service, and Coney Island Hot Dogs

Talking with Jeffrey Smith of All-Star Services

Q. How long has All-Star Services been in this business?

A. We have been incorporated since 1963—that’s 50 years.  We’ve also been involved with USConnect since the beginning. Our company was a member of VMI (Vend Marketing Institute) where several of the conceptual marketing

Jeffrey Smith - President/CEO of All-Star Services in Port Huron, Michigan

Jeffrey Smith – President/CEO of All-Star Services in Port Huron, Michigan

concepts were created, such as “Sprout,” “The Right Choice for You,” and “The Right Choice for Earth.”

Q. What trends do you see emerging for 2014?

First, cashless vending is a key component.  Our sales have continued to grow in each location as we install devices on all of our machines.  Second, the concept of loyalty rewards is becoming accepted as our customers are constantly looking for means for savings and value.  Third, we see the growth continuing with the micro-market concept.  Where we have installed the retail sites, our sales have increased considerably, especially with regard to fresh food sales.

Q. What about your business makes you stand out from others in this field?

A. Our business strives to blend the benefits of cutting edge, industry-leading technology with outstanding and dedicated customer service.

Q. Would you share an example of how you’ve used technology to grow your business?

A. Recently, we were able to sit down with a customer and analyze up to the minute sales reports in an effort to modify the machine offerings to best suit their preferences.  This meeting allowed us to expand space on products that were in high demand, and offer different selections in place of the products that were performing at a lower level.  This use of technology to enhance our customer service allows our customers to see that their feedback is heard, discussed, and implemented into our service model.

Q. And finally, what are the local favorite food and beverage choices for your clients in southeastern and mid-Michigan?

A. Coney Island Hot Dogs, which are hot dogs with a chili sauce, onions, and mustard, and Faygo beverages, particularly “Red Pop.”

 

Jeffrey Smith is the President/CEO of All-Star Services in Port Huron, Michigan. 

 

 

 

 

Cashless Vending – A Whole New Level

Cashless payment is the future of vending, but have you heard about the newest vending machines that accept payments in tweets? It’s true: at the 2014 Oscars, the Vanity Fair lounge for online journalists and bloggers had a vending machine that dispensed cashless-vending.jpgmerchandise based on Twitter posts.  Stocked with makeup and other goodies, the machine accepts tweets as currency when the bloggers post about the products using specific hashtags.

This isn’t the first machine to accept tweets as currency—in December, a machine sponsored by a Canadian telecom company, Telus, dispensed 3,000 adorable stuffed panda bears to passerby in a Vancouver mall.  Telus also made a donation to the World Wildlife Fund for each tweet.  Previous examples of combining social media and cashless vending actually dispensed beverages: the first Twitter-activated vending machine, in South Africa, and gave out samples of iced tea.  A special Pepsi vending machine also dispensed soda when a customer “liked” Pepsi on Facebook.

In addition to social media, vending machines are also processing virtual currency, including Bitcoin, the most prominent of the digital currencies.  A cigar bar in New Mexico boasts of having the first U.S. Bitcoin vending machine.  The Bitcoin machine doesn’t dispense any products—instead, it allows users to insert cash, and the machine transfers the proper amount of Bitcoin into a user’s virtual wallet.  A user can then use his Bitcoin to shop online and in the real world.  Right now, to get to a Bitcoin ATM—which would change the Bitcoin currency back into dollars—would require a trip to Austin or Seattle.

Of course, these are extreme examples, with machines tailored to a particular product, location, or event, but they illustrate the growing popularity of cashless payment options.