Consumer demand for healthy, fresh food is not a trend set to die out anytime soon. In fact, according to a 2014 Technomic study, “health is an important snack selection factor for half (50%) of adults. ” We spoke to Lifestyle Foods and Southern Refreshment Services to get the skinny on why fresh food is essential to your MicroMarket business.
“In the fast-paced business world, everyone is looking for fast, healthy, but still tasty options for lunch. Fresh food has become a must.” says Chris Hart, Director of MicroMarkets for Southern Refreshment Services, an award-winning vending and MicroMarket operator. "By having the MicroMarket, it opens up a whole new world of more options available to your business than ever before, with just vending machines alone.”
Operators are actively seeking out reputable health food companies, such as Lifestyle Foods, to provide premium options to MicroMarket consumers. Lifestyle Foods makes a wide range of pre-packaged healthy snacks and meals using “clean” ingredients to keep their foods free of preservatives, and abundant with nutrition and taste.
“Consumers are becoming more knowledgeable and are looking for something fresh, healthy, and unprocessed,” says Adam Deardorff of Lifestyle Foods.
Still not convinced? Here are five more reasons why fresh food is essential to growing your MicroMarket business.
Give your customers what they want! According to Technomic, 78% of consumers are making a strong effort to eat more fresh options instead of processed foods.
Support your locations’ health and wellness initiatives. With fresh options, companies can offer incentives to their employees when they purchase healthier foods.
Diversify your product offerings. Lifestyle Foods has noticed an increased interest in fresh “Lean Cuisine-like” meals.
Fresh foods account for up to 15-20% of operator sales. Southern Refreshment reveals that offering lunch and breakfast options (such as sandwiches, salads, and breakfast burritos), can increase sales by keeping employees in the office, buying more of your products instead of visiting outside restaurants and cafes.
Appeal to consumers with diet restrictions. “There is a high demand for vegetarian and vegan selections that we can now easily accommodate as well,” says Hart.
You’ve probably heard that consumers are moving towards ‘fresh’ food. Indeed, 2015 data from Nielsen revealed that U.S. fresh food sales increased 5 percent during the past four years, along with consumer buzz and interest in eating and living well...continue reading.
Innovation: Brent Mouritsen for being open minded, predicting events and being adventurous in code, food and life.
Collaboration: Paul Mergelhas a done a great job of leading numerous projects all while collaborating with many teams. He already has an extensive knowledge of the 365 product line and is always willing to help where he can.
Accountability: Garrett Faughtdeserves the A mug. You can always count on him to get his work done, even if it means staying late or coming in early.
Service:Tony Ranellagoes out of his way to keep the RMA process moving along in production; any time we ask for help, he makes us a priority and works with me to implement changes so that it's not a problem in the future. He goes above and beyond what is asked of him every time. Thanks so much Tony!
Happiness:Kristina Delgado deserves the Happiness mug, because despite some stressful life stuff going on is always smiling and making the best of everything. It's always a pleasure to chat with her!
From left to right: Andrew Burland, Arron Roscoe, Adam Maier, Vanessa Podlaskowski and Mary Schuster
From left to right: Dennis Yee, Tim Converse, Stephen Rutkowski and Courtney Redman
365 Retail Markets CEO, Joe Hessling will be speaking at the European Vending Experience (EVEX) 2016 show, held on November 24 & 25 in Cannes, France.
In collaboration with the French Vending Association (NAVSA), the European Vending Association (EVA) has organized information sessions, Q&A panels, vendor exhibits, and an awards dinner with forward-thinking topics focused on boosting business success, technology, and innovation.
EVEX is a unique annual event for all sectors of the vending and office coffee service (OCS) industry, and incorporates the EVA AGM and Conference. Its diverse topics are designed to be insightful and relevant, with practical business knowledge shared among event attendees. EVEX also usefully combines a mini exhibition directly targeted to industry experts.
Join the excitement to see Joe discuss MicroMarkets: A Successful Business Concept on November 24.
You know the saying, “luck favors the prepared,” right? One of the best ways to be prepared to efficiently serve your customers and surpass their expectations is to be fluent in the technology and hardware that powers your MicroMarkets. Many MicroMarket technology providers offer trainings. If you’re new to MicroMarkets, then it is a good idea to inquire about what types of trainings are available. If you are a veteran in the industry, then attending trainings is good way to stay up-to-date on the latest technology updates and industry best practices.
One of the best things you can do is reach out to your provider when have you have questions. There’s nothing worse than wasting valuable time and manpower trying to solve a problem that could be solved by utilizing features that are built into your software. 365 Retail Markets works very hard to ensure that their customers know that they are not alone and encourages customers to reach out with their “open door” policy.
“There have been instances where operators have spent several hours or days implementing a function or customer change, but when they talked to us about their frustration, we told them about easy and efficient functionalities that were built into the backend software that allowed them to accomplish their tasks in a matter of minutes,” said 365’s Sales Director, John Veit, “If they had come to us sooner, we could have saved them many hours of frustration!”
MicroMarket technology providers are constantly developing new features to help you run your business more efficiently, and you may not realize what features your technology has to offer. Without going to the trainings, you could be missing out on key business-boosting opportunities.
Here are a few key topics that trainings can cover:
Kiosk installation and maintenance
Reporting and analysis
Promotions, pricing, and product selections
Who from your team should attend these trainings?
Anyone from the Operations Team who:
is directly involved with running the day-to-day operations
works in, or services the markets
needs to pull and manage the reports
We have found that middle management, route drivers, technicians, etc. get the most value out of these trainings.
Talk to your provider about any upcoming live or pre-recorded webinars that are available. Also, look into user groups or conferences that you can attend. It is a great opportunity to get firsthand knowledge from your provider, as well as network with other Operators of varying experience levels and find out any tips and tricks that they have.
For example, 365 Retail Markets is hosting its third annual MEET User Group, April 18, 2017, ahead of the NAMA OneShow. MEET is open to current 365 customers looking to gain key insights on how to effectively run their MicroMarket operations using 365’s technology. 365 encourages owners, operators, administrators, managers and technicians to attend and pick their brains.
There’s no need to trust your business to luck or “go at it” alone. By taking advantage of the trainings offered by your MicroMarket provider, you are better prepared to confidently and efficiently run your business and provide superior service to your customers.
Knowledge is power, but SHARED knowledge is even MORE powerful. Are you armed and ready? If not, that’s okay, just ask us.
Hiring and training can be one of the toughest tasks for a manger. Hiring requires job postings and reading through dozens of resumes; it requires interviews and sometimes even results in no job offers if the candidates simply aren’t right for the position...continue reading.
Innovation: Dennis Yee deserves the award for the innovative design for structuring our many different development environments that we have going on at the same time.Collaboration: William Kolpaskyhas quickly evolved from a summer intern to a full-time Product Business Analyst. I constantly see William working with different departments and with the Executive team to prepare for meetings with customers and investors. He is becoming an expert on all the products and services that 365 offers.Accountability: Chris Andrick deserves the A mug for getting the days Kiosk orders ready as quickly as possible. He is always willing to work with the Logistics Department to ensure that all are accounted for and set up correctly.
Service:Jeff Horstman: Thank you for your technical help and service calls with one of our customers to clarify serial number/products on an invoice. With your help, we resolve the issue and make the customer HAPPY!Happiness: Gabe Stevens always greets people with a genuine smile. He always wants to know how your day is going and is truly interested in hearing your response. Gabe is a great listener and I always walk away from our conversations with his contagious smile. Thanks for spreading your joy throughout 365 Gabe!
Last month, the 365 International team packed up a few kiosks and hit the road to join in the excitement at the 2016 CAMA Expo, September 15 - 17, 2016 in British Columbia. Sales of 365’s MicroMarket kiosks have taken off in Canada, making this event a great opportunity for face time with our customers.
The Canadian Automatic Merchandising Association hosts the Expo as their annual flagship event to connect exhibitors and operators through product showcases, networking, and educational sessions, furthering their vision of elevating professionalism and leadership in the vending and office coffee service industry.
The 365 crew included Chief Operating Officer John Chidiac, Account Executive Jon Floyd, and International Coordinator Jessica Cox. After some time well spent at the Expo, they were excited to share their experience.
According to Jessica, “The CAMA show was a great opportunity for a wide variety of vendors and suppliers to come together in a more intimate setting, and discuss the many possibilities of partnership for the future of the vending industry.”
“As usual, CAMA provides a unique setting to give customers and exhibitors an environment that allows for productive discussions.” John added, regarding the event.
Jon Floyd distinctly agreed with a simple “thumbs up!”, and a shoutout to our customers who were CAMA event winners: Jacques Dube of McMurray Coin Machines Ltd. & Jim Jackson of Quality Vending & Coffee Services, Ltd.
It’s safe to say the 365 team can’t wait to attend next year’s CAMA Expo!
When it comes to which payment solution to offer in your MicroMarket, is variety the spice of life? The short answer is: yes! 365 Retail Markets’ CEO, Joe Hessling says, “Your goal is to provide the right payment method, for the right consumer, at the right time. If you don’t, you run the risk of losing that customer’s business forever.” He recommends talking to the location to tailor the payment methods to best fit the customer-base.
There are hundreds of different payment methods and technologies available today. To help you provide the best service for your customers, we’ve compiled a list of the popular payment methods and the pros and cons of each.
Cash and Coins
As Vending and MicroMarket Operators, you are all too familiar with the crinkle of paper and the jingle of change. But is cash really the best option for your MicroMarket? The answer is, it’s complicated. By accepting cash and coins, you need a machine that can dispense change. You also have to keep count and replace the cash regularly.
Paper bills and coins
Customers are familiar and comfortable with cash and coins, which may make market adoption easier
Operators have to manage cash payments and refunds
Kiosks need to be equipped with bill validators and bill recyclers
An alternative to this would be to accept cash at the kiosk only to fund stored value accounts. MicroMarket kiosks such as 365’s Gen3c has this capability.
Stored Value Accounts
What are stored value accounts? Glad you asked. A stored value account is a prepaid account that consumers can fund either online or at the kiosk. They can then access those funds via a market card, employee badge, login ID and PIN or through biometrics like a thumb or fingerprint.
What makes stored value accounts great?
Research from a Bachtelle and Associates1 survey says that market cards account for:
65.9% of revenue
68.7% of products purchased
Another way to leverage stored value accounts is by using payroll deduct. Payroll deduct is a Human Resource-based incentive where funds are pulled from an employee’s paycheck as they use their market account.
Prepaid account where the funds can be added online or at the kiosk
Reduces or eliminates the use of cash
Contributes 66% of revenue
Great tool to implement customer loyalty programs
Allows for customer purchase history data
Fewer merchant fees when compared to credit and debit transactions
Funds loaded into a stored value account cannot be counted as revenue until they are actually used. Beware not to count these funds as revenue as it could lead to accounting issues. NAMA recommends consulting an attorney or accountant to “determine how local and state laws treat prepaid balance accounts (NAMA’s Micro Market Manual).”
NFC and Mobile Payments
NFC and mobile payments are gaining in popularity in the retail space, so implementing the technology into your MicroMarkets makes sense. NFC or near-field communication technology “allows two devices placed within a few centimeters of each other to exchange data” (Cnet.com), such as a smartphone. With mobile payments expected to increase by 128% in 2017, according to eMarketer, the time is ripe to begin implementing a mobile payment solution in your MicroMarket. There are many mobile payment platforms available: Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, Visa Checkout, MasterCard Contactless, etc.
NFC-based payments offer an additional layer of security for both Operators and consumers. Instead of transferring the consumer’s credit card number to the merchant, a unique, one-time-use security code called a token is generated for the transaction.
A secure payment method via mobile devices including Android and iPhones.
Growing payment method.
Offers more security than credit and debit card purchases.
Although adoption of mobile payment technology is increasing, it is still new and may take time to become a commonplace payment method.
Credit and Debit Cards
Credit and debit cards remain the most popular form of payment in MicroMarkets with 49% of transactions being swipe-based (Automatic Merchandiser). However there are Interchange and Merchant fees that are associated with accepting swipe payments. Be sure to look over the fee breakdowns carefully.
Plastic card with a magnetic stripe and as of 2015, the EMV chip.
Responsible for 49% of MicroMarket transactions
Fees, fees, fees!
Cashless payments are on the rise. Is your MicroMarket ready?
There’s no doubt that Millennials already influence a great deal of change in the workplace. Specifically, companies are turning to more gourmet food and beverage options, offering a more flexible work/life balance, and even reformatting the in-office workplace to include more collaborative spaces. This is all in response to the generation of 18 to 34 year olds who value...continue reading.
The vending industry is currently experiencing a significant shift in legal compliance and customer engagement. Not only are the caloric disclosure FDA regulations taking effect in December 2016, but consumer expectations are increasingly focused on informed healthy snacking and cashless payment methods.
Without the proper tools, keeping up can feel impossible. The simplest solution is to integrate technology, but avoiding pricey machine updates is crucial.
Digital vending accessories are the solution. Products like AirVend can be retrofitted to enable existing machines to accept a wider variety of payment methods and display signage containing nutritional information and promotional details.
Contact us to learn more about AirVend's solution for healthier vending!
Innovation: Laraine Peterson is very detailed oriented and is always willing to help track down and solve issues. She will go to great lengths to make sure the issues are resolved to the satisfaction of the customer.Collaboration: Mary Ellen Seymourfor all of her help with the implementation of the electronic PTO system, as well as her consistent willingness to help the HR department as needed!Accountability: Matt Hammel (Panther) is hardworking and is always willing to help out when needed.Service:Rita Blaty for all her hard work and dedication to collecting from all of our clients and most importantly the franchise group!! Her customer service is amazing and her drive to push forward even when clients are difficult does not go unnoticed! Thank you for all you do!Happiness: Jessica Cox is always smiling and friendly and always willing to have a conversation about anything.
From left to right: Mase Warner, Alex Hawkins, Colleen Wisinski, and Jeff Kirchoff
Update your resume and join us at the 365 Retail Markets Job Fair on Wednesday, October 12, 2016 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.
If you’re looking to join a team that values innovation, collaboration, accountability, service, and happiness, you’ve found the right place!
We are looking to fill the following positions:
Senior Technical Support Specialist
Technical Support Specialist
Outside Sales Representative – Entry Level
Please arrive for check-in at 6:00pm, and be prepared for on-the-spot interviews. Remember to bring a copy of your resume!
You can view full job descriptions of our open positions and submit your resume ahead of time through our Careers page.
Event registration and specifics are accessible on Eventbrite.
See you there!