Gaining A New Appreciation For The Convenience Services Industry

Aug. 5, 2019

Hello! I’m Abby White, the new editor at Automatic Merchandiser and, and I’m excited to work with you. I am new to this industry, but I’ve worked as an editor, writer, content creator, communications director and project manager for nearly 20 years.

Although I am new to the convenience services industry, I am not new to convenience services. In the mad scramble to run out the door each morning, I do a quick mental checklist to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything essential – keys, wallet, phone, etc. The most forgotten item on my list? Lunch. It’s always lunch. 

I’ve been relying upon this industry for years, whether in need of a replacement for a forgotten lunch, post-workout fuel or a mid-afternoon treat. While the term “micro market” didn’t enter my vocabulary until this year, I’ve visited micro markets countless times, and I was always grateful to have access to fresh, healthy food. Whenever I needed a snack — usually something cheesy/salty, or something made with chocolate and peanut butter — I was also grateful for the vending machine stocked with all my favorites (and I'd noticed the increased availability of healthy options there, too).

I’d been a dedicated consumer of this industry for years, and I didn’t even realize it.

If you think about it, that’s a testament to how good you are at your job. Whether you’re a supplier of the many products that consumers enjoy, one of the visionaries building technology that streamlines the shopping and purchasing experience, or an operator who runs the vending, micro market or OCS — wherever you fit in this industry, you’ve made an positive impact on the lives of consumers like me.

In this issue, we’re exploring developments in micro market and vending technology, particularly the hybrid products that allow operators to streamline their operations, enhance monitoring capabilities and ensure security. We’ll also discuss how your business should manage risk assessment and payment security, and how operators can protect themselves. Mike Ferguson does a great, deep dive into best practices for using your vending management system, and Bob Tullio offers his expert insight on the “fourth wave” of coffee (hint: It’s all about local).

Now that I’ve wrapped my first month as editor of Automatic Merchandiser and, I’m astounded at how much I didn’t know about this booming and constantly evolving industry. I recognize that I still have a lot to learn, and I welcome your input. Please feel free to reach out to me anytime at [email protected].

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