As featured in the April Edition - Micro Market News from VendingMarketWatch.com
It is a misconception that micro markets are an extension of vending. While fundamentally, both micro markets and vending aim to meet the same basic need: conveniently providing snacks and beverages to consumers. MicroMarkets, are more closely aligned to convenience stores and operators should use the techniques and procedures that are employed throughout the food service retail establishments when implementing strategies in their MicroMarket operations. This is especially true when attempting to increase same-store MicroMarket sales. 1. Location, location, location One thing retailers do well is managing the flow of the customer throughout the store. The flow of your market is important in directing your customers throughout the market. Assume that cold beverages are a staple for all purchases and have them placed away from the kiosk so that consumers will see all of the offerings as they make their way to checkout. Be sure to place perishable items at eye-level to reduce spoilage. Don’t forget the all-important impulse purchase. Place small items like candy and gum at the point of sale to take advantage of those spur-of-the-moment purchases. 2. Rotate products Rotate product offering periodically. By introducing a new product in the place of a slow-moving item you will increase sales and reduce spoils. A new product does not have to be new but rather new to the market. 3. Keep it fresh A good fresh food offering will draw more consumers to the market and will be bigger ticket purchases as they will be part of a “meal” – sandwich, beverage and chips. This is the hardest part to manage, as a “poor” fresh food offering (high priced, low quality, limited selection, etc.) can turn customers away. 4. Coffee A good coffee offering will bring people to the kiosk more often and drive other product sales. 5. Price to sell The easiest way to increase same store sales is to ensure that your pricing is accurate and appropriate. That means that you should: • Review all of your pricing to make sure that there are no “mistakes.” If prices are above acceptable levels you will lose volume. • Make sure that you adjust prices upward for market trends that your customers will recognize and accept. One tried and accepted methodology is to keep on top of convenience store/gas station pricing in the area. Customers will see these as natural alternatives. • Price products to the 9’s. Instead of $1.05 go to $1.09. The extra $0.04 is worth roughly 3% on average and customers generally won’t notice or complain about the increase. • Make sure that you capture sales tax and bottle deposits separately from the list price. Together they can represent up to 10% of sales price. Increasing same-store MicroMarket sales doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Making strategic decisions regarding the store's layout, product offering and pricing can help to mitigate operations cost and add revenue to individual stores. In this case, look to convenience stores for inspiration.