“A lot of suppliers have done a good job educating and getting operators up to speed with how category management works, and operators have done a good job applying some of the principals that have been offered to them. The operators that embrace … merchandising techniques are becoming retailers and as such, driving increased sales.”
When thinking of breakfast, operators need the basics like cereal, yogurt and more, but the breakfast segment is another way to utilize frozen food items. Pancakes, waffles and various breakfast sandwich items could be sold as frozen food items in micro markets.
Analyzing micro market customers
The next challenge for operators is identifying who the micro market customer is. Kelley says manufacturers, such as General Mills, are working to understand, and in turn provide operators with information on consumer insights, allowing them to better understand their customer types and provide more appropriate assortments in their micro markets.
“If you’ve got an office environment that is heavily female, the product selections should be different than a manufacturing facility consisting mostly of men,” Kelley said. “It’s a question of really drilling down to understand who the customer is.”
Kelley explains that providing consumer insights is a difficult task because of the variability of micro market locations. What applies to one specific location may not apply to another similar location; it all depends on the specific market demographics. “Micro market operators are going to have to decide whether to market to consumers on an individual basis, or a broad basis with the same items that are typically used in every micro market because they’re tried and true,” Kelley said. “You first have to get the core products correct, but after that it’s a matter of how far operators are willing to go, and without a doubt if there’s a location that is heavily skewed by a specific consumer type, the kind of products offered will make a difference.”
Micro markets continue to trend positively and remain a viable revenue boost for many operators. As more information comes in about who is shopping at micro markets and what kind of products they demand, operators will have the opportunity to reach new customers they’ve never had before.