The 2016 vending and refreshment service industry trade show is behind us. Held in Chicago, Illinois April 13-15, the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) convention hosted hundreds of exhibitors and even more attendees from both small and large, national and international brands, including U-Select-It.
The chairman of U-Select-It, Art Wittern was honored as the NAMA Allied Member of the Year. The award goes to a member who has shown dedication in the industry, as well as demonstrated innovation, responsiveness to the changes in the field, and followed or developed best practices, as well as helping others engaged in refreshment services expand their productivity and reach. Art was the president and CEO of U-Select-It’s parent company, The Wittern Group, until 1990, when he moved into the chairman position and another family member became the third generation of leadership.
There were many exciting developments for U-Select-It at the NAMA OneShow this year. U-Select-It launched its Evoke series of machines, which utilizes a touch screen and allows consumers to purchase more than one item per transaction. The company also debuted its Greenlite remote pricing feature, which allows operators to adjust pricing and promotions without being at the location of an individual machine. As a vending machine distributor, U-Select-It is always moving forward, learning from trade shows like NAMA OneShow and incorporating that knowledge and growth into new products for their operators and consumers.
What’s happening in the rest of the trade? Programming at NAMA OneShow included information on the growth of both brewed-to-order and cold coffee, developments in technology, addressing changes to consumer food values, micro markets, the relevance of social media for vending, best practices for safety, cash-free or “virtual commerce” transactions, loyalty programs, and gamification (making machine interfaces game-like).
Without question, this was a banner year for both NAMA OneShow and U-Select-It. By staying abreast of current trends and futurecasting, remaining involved in legislation affecting vending, and persisting in reaching out to consumers and operators to share information, the future of the industry is very bright indeed!