Theft is one of the biggest concerns for both operators and locations when introduced to micro markets for the first time. While it can feel like a big transition to remove the theoretical lock on the vending machine and rely on the honor system, theft concerns in micro markets are largely unfounded.
Most employees don't want to lose their job over a snack, and operators can generally raise prices enough to counter a less than 5 percent loss rate (similar to convenience and other retail stores). To ease theft concerns, VendingMarketWatch has compiled a list of five ways to deal with and minimize theft:
Tip 1: Address theft early on
Be honest with human resource personnel early on about the possibility of employee theft. The location has to understand that although the likelihood of their employees stealing from the micro market is low, it’s not impossible. If, after installation, an employee is found to be stealing, the operator must address it right away with human resources, but it is recommended that operators tread lightly. Be careful when accusing employees of theft, because that could lead to a closed account.
Tip 2: Use video monitoring
One of the most common techniques operators employ to deter theft is to use video surveillance in each location. Video cameras set up from multiple angles let the consumer know that someone on the other end is watching their behavior in the micro market. Some operators even use screens to show consumers that they’re being watched, like in convenience and grocery stores. Video footage can also be used as evidence if an operator find that a customer is stealing.
Tip 3: Use signage
Don’t underestimate the value of signage, both digital and hardcopy. Place a hardcopy sign near the kiosk and the entrance of the micro market, to let customers know that they are being videotaped, similar to signs consumers are used to seeing in retail. It is recommended that operators put signs in multiple languages, too.
Tip 4: Review item sales data at least once a week
Reviewing item sales data more than once a week is important in a micro market in order to find buying patterns and understand which items, on a daily basis, consumers are purchasing. It is also important to review sales data frequently so that it’s easy to spot an issue. If a product isn’t being purchased frequently, yet you have to order more for a location, that could be a sign that theft is occurring.
Tip 5: Do physical inspections
Route drivers are personnel who will visit each individual site most frequently. Have them do a physical inspection each time they visit a market, for any tampering with the video cameras, the video screens, or for things like credit card skimmers on the kiosk.
Micro markets are beneficial in many ways and concerns of theft shouldn’t be a deterrent when deciding whether or not to open a micro market in a secure/closed location.