Some of what do, and even things we don’t do, might cause them to decide NOT to buy. We know why they buy. Do we understand why they do not buy?
Clean, filled and working! Is that all we need to do? That is what we have all been told is the key to success in our business. For much of the past 50-60 years this rule has been the key driver to successfully drive sales and profit growth. It has worked in the past.
To start, let’s define merchandising as it applies to our channel. The classic definition is “making products available for sale through display, promotion and pricing to gain attention, stimulate interest and entice shoppers to make a purchase.” For today’s shoppers, especially those under 30 years of age, clean, filled and working is not good enough to win their loyalty.
There are four critical issues we must address now to prove that we are serious about merchandising in vending, OCS and onsite feeding. Specifically:
- How do we attract and interest shoppers to buy – and then buy again? We can’t survive unless we build repeat sales with the people who work at, or regularly visit, the locations we serve. Is there a better way to place our machines to drive sales increases?
- How should we arrange the products we display in our machines? Can we increase sales if we set our machines differently? Where do put specific items to maximize sales and profits?
- How do we minimize out-of-stocks? Research reports across retail stores indicate that shoppers will not come back to a store if they find that their favorite items are consistently out-of-stock. After the third time, a shopper will go elsewhere and not return. If we’re out of best sellers every week at locations, it won’t be long before we turn off and lose those shoppers who want their favorite candy, snack or beverage.
- How do we differentiate what we offer? If everyone sells the same products, then the lowest prices (and the highest commissions) will always win. We must rise above the “sameness” to make what we sell unique and different versus what everyone else offers.
Attracting and Interesting Shoppers To Buy - And Buy Again
How do we attract and interest shoppers – at 30’ – at 10’ – and when they are in front our machines? What is the most effective way to arrange our machines? Which machines should be closest to the entry point? Why? Which should be furthest from the entry point? Why?
This is a challenging subject. If you visit chain operations – fast food restaurants and convenience stores – you’ll see a fairly consistent design in each chain’s locations. It’s difficult for us, because every breakroom or lunchroom is different in size, format (rectangles, squares, whatever), color and fixtures – with tables and chairs varying from new to the 1950s. Our industry has always been creative and highly adaptive. Now we must step it up – in a big way.
We run different stores at every location. The machines placed vary based on how many people are being served. The products we stock change based on the site demographics – younger or older, white collar or blue collar or pink collar or grey collar, ethnic mix, etc.
Keep all of those factors in mind. Do you recall the advertising from Jack-in-the-Box when they got rid of their clown logo and remodeled their restaurants? In the ads, they blew up the store. It is time for us to blow up the store. Here are some radical new ideas: