For micro market operators, the honeymoon could be over. Following six years of uninterrupted bliss, your micro market clients could be ready to stray. What do they seek? Style, design and a workplace refreshment area that will dazzle their most treasured asset; their employees.
Operators of micro markets, true industry pioneers, are now faced with an important question. Is it time to refresh existing micro markets? The leading operators of micro markets have already answered that question. Absolutely. Operators who fail to adapt to this trend could open the door for newcomers and competitors.
The clear majority of micro markets in existence today consist of nothing more than just a row of coolers, a freezer, a few sets of wire racks and a kiosk. Logo headers on the coolers pass for a design element. Until recently, that basic line-up was more than enough to bring rave reviews from clients, who were so thrilled by the removal of their vending machines and so excited about the cashless technology of a micro market, the concept of design never occurred to them.
“Clients loved the selection, the improved fresh food, the loyalty programs and the frequency of service,” said Jon Fishman, who operated micro markets early on in Southern California. “If there was anything happening relating to décor, it was up to the client and we didn’t see too much of that unless it was a brand-new space. Clients were just grateful to have a market.”
“In the early days of micro markets, there was no competition once a location was installed,” added Fishman. “Our clients were so happy to have a well serviced, well stocked market, what reason would they have to change?”
“The best advice I can give to micro market operators today is refresh and retain.” - Steve Orlando, co-founder, Fixturelite
After six years, they now have a big reason to change.
“To protect your existing business, to secure a new long-term contract, to keep clients happy and to increase micro market revenue, it is a very good idea for you as an operator to suggest a “market refresh” to your longtime clients,” said Steve Orlando, an experienced operator of ten years who co-founded Fixturelite, a leading supplier of micro market retail displays, seating and design features. “The best advice I can give to micro market operators today is “refresh and retain,” he added.
The process starts with the Fixturelite Design Tool, a user-friendly technology platform that allows the operator to create a detailed rendition of what the refreshed space will ultimately look like. While Orlando and his team provide a great deal of design support for their operator clients, “The design tool gives operators a head start on competition and an impressive way to show the client that you are truly invested in providing an extraordinary workplace refreshment experience,” said Orlando, who is happy to give operators a free demo of the Fixturelite Design Tool.
At the same time, for operators looking to grow, the Fixturelite Design Tool provides some serious sales support. “You can try to impress a micro market prospect by dropping off a few eclectic snacks, a sandwich and a salad, or you can stand out as a thought leader by sharing a virtual experience of what their own breakroom should look like,” said Orlando. “This is how micro markets are being sold today. Facility managers and especially human resource managers are truly driven to give their employees a refreshment area that is not only attractive, but also a place to relax, collaborate and refuel. Show them the experience that their employees will enjoy, and the odds dramatically increase that the account will be yours for the taking.”
Today’s most favored design elements include:
- Dramatic LED under-shelf lighting, using proven retail strategies.
- Retail displays that showcase the products, designed with consumer psychology in mind.
- Comfortable seating environments that are inviting and promote collaboration.
- The Fixturelite automatic facing system, for coolers, freezers and retail displays – giving the impression of a neatly attended market in an unattended environment.
The clear focus on purposeful design makes it critical for operators to refresh existing markets in 2018, especially those that were installed in the early days of micro markets. In addition to retaining the account, the operator will enjoy a resurgence of interest in the micro market, because that is exactly what happens after a Grand Opening. “New signups and new interest from inactive users can offset much of the refresh cost,” said Orlando. “Even without the additional sales, for micro market operators with a long-term view, it makes sense to refresh and retain in 2018.”