In the October issue of Automatic Merchandiser, we presented a lot of information on micro markets. We received quite a bit of feedback from you, especially when it came to the products that we featured and I’d like to share with you the intent behind that editorial. Micro markets present a new opportunity to “think outside the box” a little bit because there is no magic equation that ensures automatic success in a market. This shouldn’t be something that keeps you up at night with worry; instead, this should be something that gets you excited!
Create a plan
Each market that you operate is going to be different, but how you set out to plan the products that you’ll use in the market is not so different. One thing that we do know is that the best sellers in your machines are probably going to be the same best sellers in a market. You must offer the same best sellers in each market, but after that, it’s really up to you. Now remember, a micro market is a completely different business model than you might be used to in vending. So where can you go for help? Believe it or not, there are plenty of resources for you to start using. For example, partner with the product manufacturer; they have plenty of data that they will share with you as you are looking for products for your market. Sometimes, it’s as simple as offering the King Size option of one of your best-selling candy bars. It might even be different packaging of a food product that has helped sales because the consumer views it as a higher value product.
Know your customer
Don’t be afraid to spend time at the convenience store. Look how they are displaying product to consumers. Look at their coolers and how they display food items. Are they offering products that you may not have thought about and that you can try in your accounts? Spend time really understanding your customers. Some questions to ask about each market might be: What type of business is it? What is the male to female ratio? What is the average age of your customer? What are their eating habits? All of these answers will influence the products you offer and don’t be surprised if you find yourself offering different products throughout each micro market.
With that knowledge, you’ll be better armed to make the right product selections and offerings in your accounts. Will everything always sell out? No! Maybe one product will work better in one account than it did in another account. Maybe a product just never really took off at all, but perhaps one idea consistently sells out. You’ll never know if you don’t try. Do you have a micro market success story that you’d like to share? We’d like to hear from you. Please drop me a line at Monique.Terrazas@VendingMarketWatch.com or give me a call.