Create A New Buying Habit

July 20, 2017

Today's consumer loves getting a deal. Promotions are a way to keep a micro market, or promo-enabled vending machine, in the forefront of that consumers' mind, engage them in the break room space and most importantly, increase sales. Will the sales only lift during the promotion? Not if the promotion is planned and executed correctly. Because in effect, the true goal of a promotion is to change your customer's buying habits.

Ways to form and change habits

According to behavioral psychologists, human habits are affected by three R's - reminder, routine and reward. There's a nice explanation of them in this blog that aims to help people live better through altering habits, but for the sake of ease, I'll recap it here. Reminder means there needs to be something that reminds us of the behavior, or that we associate it with. A grill might be associated with burgers and hot dogs. Or a sign about a cup of coffee for 99 cents with the purchase of a breakfast sandwich might remind us that we love those sandwiches or would really love some coffee. The routine is the actual behavior – the buying, eating, etc. And, finally, the reward is the benefit gained – saving money, the positive feeling of getting a deal, being full, feeling energized, etc.

It's important to consider the three R's when building promotions. Many people start with the offer, but then don't consider the reward or the reminder. Will the consumer really view this offer as a reward? For example, would 5 cents off a $3 item be an ideal reward? Or is it better to run a "buy two $3 items and get a third half off"? Which would make the customer feel more rewarded and therefore, likely to continue the behavior of shopping at the micro market or vending machine in future. Reward also refers to the overall experience, the look, feel, and ease of shopping and using the micro market or vending machine. All of these are important when trying to get that consumer back into the break room for subsequent sales.

Make sure to use signage

Probably the most overlooked R is the reminder. Sure, there might be a sales tag in front of the item with the promotion, but that only works if the consumer begins by looking at the item. Instead, put signs front and center as one enters the break room or micro market that detail the promotion. Hang banners and make kiosk commercials. Tell consumers about the reward (how much money they will save or the prize they will win). If you can, use email or signs elsewhere in the location to "remind" people walking by to shop at the micro market or vending machines because of the promotion. Advertise your micro market or vending machine to keep it top of mind and remind people to routinely shop there because it offers great rewards.

Locations want to work with professionals, and will expect a certain amount of marketing knowledge from micro markets operators. So embrace it, have fun with it and increase sales by changing your end users' habits.