By Aimee Chanthadavong

Mobilecentral24/7 has commenced rolling out its mobile phone accessory vending machines across Queensland-based retail stores ahead of plans to expand nationwide and into New Zealand.

The installation of the eleven cashless blue and white machines, which sell products from CMI Accessories, comes following a successful test launch with a single Ascot machine in late 2012.

The mobilecentral24/7 machines are currently installed in Brisbane’s Chinatown Mall, Fortitude Valley’s TC Beirne Building, five SPAR Supermarkets, an IGA supermarket and other locations including hotels and apartment buildings.

Julian Yates, mobilecentral24/7 director, said the vending machines will help attend to consumer demand for convenient shopping.

“Vending machines for a wide range of products are definitely very big currently in Asia and America but I believe they are still a relatively new concept for the Australian market for anything outside of snacks and drinks, although we are well on our way currently to heading towards the proliferation that is seen overseas,” he said.

“Consumers want access to products quickly, conveniently and at the hours that suit them – they don’t want to line up in queues or speak to sales people.

“In addition, mobile phone accessories represent a product group that is quite often needed after hours and in a hurry. For instance when travellers realise they did not pack their much-needed charger or headphones just as they need them, so we feel our concept fits perfectly with what consumers want and need.”

The machines use payment technology from Nayax and are installed and processed by Bankwest.

“Our research and consumer feedback tells us that cashless is the way of the future, so we were sure to install the most advanced cashless system from Nayax into the mobilecentral24/7 machines,” Yates said.

“Another driver for this decision was the operating costs for service people when you take into account that biggest call-out or fault reason for this kind of machine is a coin jam or a note reader malfunction, which renders the whole machine out of action and can result in annoyed customers and increasing costs. In addition, when you take cash out of the picture, the risk of theft is reduced. “

As the company plans to expand trans-Tasman, Yates said there are also opportunities to go beyond selling phone accessories. “Our model is available for people who may wish to vend other products and we have already been contacted by various.”