Dr. K's Tech Times

Developing a Loyalty Program

Despite the fact Americans hold more than three billion loyalty program memberships, it is estimated that a significant majority do not actively participate in programs for which they hold membership. Often called mining for gold in a mountain of data, loyalty programs are about to become mainstream in the vending, refreshment services, and micro-market channels. A loyalty program is typically defined as a rewards program offered by a company to customers who frequently make purchases. A loyalty program may provide its members with advanced access to new products, special sales coupons, or reward merchandise. Understanding the mechanics, dimension, and parameters of loyalty programs is important to the development of an effective platform.

ADA Compliant Websites

Is your company’s vending, refreshment services, or micro-market website ADA compliant? When companies consider obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act most relate to low-tech solutions like wheelchair ramps, handicapper parking spaces, and modified product dispensing. New developments, however, will soon require companies to configure online experiences for the disabled. If not, a firm could be facing serious violations resulting in public reprimand and/or significant fines.

Gamification: Impactful Technology

Gaining a sustained competitive advantage at a vending location, refreshment services unit, or micro-market almost always revolves around strong customer relationship management (CRM) programming. Obtaining buyer loyalty, once based on having the right product at the right price, has evolved into creating strategies geared toward customer engagement through participation incentives. Social networking, digital media, mobile commerce, and geo-fencing applications have contributed to consumer empowerment and/or entitlement. To attract and interest consumers, industry operators may be wise to consider gamification as a means to establishing long-term brand relationships as headlines scream: “The US Gamification Market is expected to reach $11 billion by 2020.”

Dr. K Tech Times: Wearables in the Workplace

In 2015, more than 39.5 million US adults owned wearable technology devices, including smart watches and fitness trackers. This number represents an increase of 57.7 percent over 2014 data according to digital market research firm eMarketer. The firm’s research report projects a continued upward growth rate culminating with 81.7 million wearable users by 2018. How might such technology be advanced in the vending, refreshment services, and micro-market channels? Can operators benefit from the explosion in wearable devices? How will wearables impact the NAMA workplace?

Latest Mobile Player: Walmart Pay

There has been much attention given to mobile payment platforms in the past several months with Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and others. More recently there has been a shift toward innovative, merchant-controlled payments. The latest entry is an application from Walmart that may be the biggest game changer in mobile payments. What impact might this development have on vending, refreshment services, and/or micro-market operations?

About Dr. K

Mike KasavanaMichael L. Kasavana is the emeritus NAMA Endowed Professor in the School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University. He retired from MSU after having served as a professor for nearly four decades.  His expertise and research have centered on information technology, electronic commerce and cashless transactions in the hospitality industry. Kasavana has authored and contributed to several books, written for a variety of industry journals and trade magazines, and created industry software products.

Dr. Kasavana was selected as the 2011 Industry Person of the Year by the National Automatic Merchandising Association, is an inductee of the HFTP International Technology Hall of Fame, and is a recipient of the prestigious FS/TEC’s Distinguished Achievements in Food Service Technology Award. Other accolades include the MSU Distinguished Faculty Award, MSU Broad College of Business Withrow Teacher-Scholar Award, MSU Academic Spartan of the Year Award, and the MSU Teacher-Scholar Award.  Kasavana was also part of the inaugural class of NAMA Certified NCE5 executives.

Dr. Kasavana received his B.S. in Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Administration, his MBA in Finance, and his Ph.D. in Management Information Systems from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

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