When talking about connected equipment, cloud capabilities, and diagnostics, the discussion usually revolves around monitoring the machine’s operations or generating information that can improve an operator’s strategy. Lancer Link will do all those things, and it will also help operators reach customers directly and in the moment.
Lancer Link is a software solution that will be embedded in Lancer Worldwide’s upcoming smart beverage dispensers, beginning in Q2 with the Bold 30i self-serve dispensers and the TST Tower series multiflavored dispensers. The software can measure how much of a beverage is extracted, measure the machine’s health information, and provide automated data reporting such as drive-through activity. These data points can help operators know when to replace the soda bag and syrup, when to schedule maintenance, and what drinks are the most popular at certain times of the day. “This provides the user with weaponized data where they can make purchasing decisions based on what drink flavors are selling best,” says Brad Davis, director of applied technologies for Lancer.
The data generated by each machine will not only be available at the store level but also at a centralized or corporate office. This will allow chains to better understand their sales at a market and regional level. So, for example, if iced tea proves to be more popular in the South, operators can adjust their marketing content for that area of the country.
In addition, the screens on the smart dispensers offer their own marketing opportunity: Lancer Link will allow the operator to display pictures and videos on the beverage dispensers to advertise popular drinks or food specials during the lunch hour. Operators will be able to choose whether these advertisements are managed at the corporate level and pushed out to individual machines, or if they are handled at the store level, providing flexibility based on the unit’s business model.
What Salespeople Need to Know
Lancer Link represents Lancer’s first Internet of Things venture, but the company expects it will be a key piece of its lineup going forward. The technology is still in development, but Davis says the user interface will be accessible via the internet on PCs or through a mobile app. The machines that will offer Lancer Link include drive-through systems and self-serve dispensers.
The first models to feature Lancer Link will be connected only through ethernet ports, although Davis says WiFi versions are in development for future models. To allay security concerns, Lancer is working with major convenience stores, retail operations, and QSRs to ensure the data collected by Lancer Link remains safe.
As of now, there is no monthly cost to use Lancer Link. Despite this, Davis says the company wants to provide future enhancements and support that will keep the technology relevant as new features are potentially added.