The Power of Promotions

June 6, 2017

It isn’t exactly an industry secret anymore that micro markets are growing in popularity every day. As such, operators should be mindful about how to stay competitive in the space so as not to miss out on important opportunities.  

According to Automatic Merchandiser’s most recent Operator Confidence Index, micro market placements are expected to grow by one to two markets per month per operator. With micro market installations rising by the day, it is especially important for operators to differentiate themselves from the increasingly crowded space. Incentives and promotions have proven to attract consumers and turn them into loyal, returning customers. Furthermore, these programs can help move slow-selling products to grow overall sales.  

Here are several of the latest promotions and incentives that aim to attract the number one asset of micro markets: consumers.   

Fun and games for Digital Checkouts 

In an effort to not only attract micro market customers, but to also keep them coming back for more, Digital Checkouts has pioneered several promotions and incentives. Gamification is one of the major themes of its loyalty program that allows customers to accrue loyalty points for every purchase when logged into their market account, whether using a credit card, account balance, cash or a combination of all payment options. Operators then have the ability to set the amount of loyalty points per dollar amount, and the customer is able to redeem their points towards purchases when they select to use their points as a payment option. 

Digital Checkouts’ bundle deals and sales also employ a similar game-inspired theme. Operators have the ability to set up groups of items that when purchased together automatically applies a discount for the customer. In addition, they may also select specific items and even a category of items to place on sale or as buy one/get one deals. These deals can be advertised either on the kiosk screen itself or via a customer information screen that is controlled by the operator. Operators also can create coupons for specials they would like to run. These can be sent to their customers via text message using an opt in program or they can be advertised on the kiosk or local information screen 

Parlevel ‘recharges’ consumer wallets 

Parlevel’s Wallet Recharge Promotion has proven to drive up sales for operators. With the promotion, operators can prompt their customers to refill their digital wallets with funds by providing a percentage bonus to refilled funds. An example of a promotion would be: “Add funds to your wallet and receive an extra 10 percent on us.” So a wallet user can load $20 onto their account and get an extra $2 for a total of $22. 

“This is beneficial to the operator because he gives an incentive to his customer base to use wallets,” explained Christopher Blomquist of Parlevel. “Increased usage of wallets lowers credit card processing fees and inspires and end-user to come back and use the kiosk.” 

Blomquist also reports that Parlevel micro market operators who offer the Wallet Refill Promotion average over $3,500 per kiosk per month in wallet recharges and cashless sales. Additionally, 95 percent of the money in the loaded wallets actually get spent, which shows that customers are in fact inspired to use the funds in their wallet, while operators benefit from a 5 percent boost in sales without actually incurring any cost of goods sold. 

Timing is everything at The Cuyahoga Group 

A play on the 12 days of Christmas, The Cuyahoga Group offered a seasonal promotion to thank customers for their patronage. Each day, The Cuyahoga Group offered a different discount with deals ranging from 25 cents off coffee to buy one get one free deals. Similarly during March Madness, The Cuyahoga Group created a brackets with discounted items each week. These promotions, The Cuyahoga Group’s Director of Operations Brian Canterbury says, resulted in a 5 percent increase in consumer participation and also a “substantial increase” in consumer participation.  

“We continue to focus on promotions and refresh’s to separate from competitors,” Canterbury said.  

Relying on a promotions calendar offers an organized tool for making sure a program is carried out, while its timeliness may help ensure a greater following by consumers. The calendar also will give operators enough time to create marketing and promotional materials to help spread the word about a particular campaign.  

Happy holidays for PayRange 

Over the past holiday season, operators across 300 cities leveraged the PayRange mobile app to run a holiday sales promotion driving incremental usage during a month when sales typically slow down. Participating operators offered users a 25-cent discount when purchasing from their machines. The offer was automatically removed when the user made four purchases, or on December 31, whichever came first. There was no cost to the operator to run the promotion, other than the cost of redeemed discounts. 

The PayRange Holiday Promotion acquired new users, drove existing users to the vending machines, and encouraged repeat purchase through their PayRange app. 

In particular, the promotion resulted in an increase in four main areas: 

Activity: Participating operators avoided the expected seasonal drop, which can be as much as a 38 percent decline for non-participating operators. 

Sales: The promotion gave participating operators a 13 percent lift in their December sales. 

Spend: New users, defined as those that did not purchase in November, spent 8 percent more. 

Repeat purchase: 40 percent of holiday program users made four purchases or more. 

“We were impressed with the word-of-mouth referrals from existing users to non-users,” says Amanda Mailey, director of marketing a PayRange. “We didn’t notify or promote this campaign outside of the App. Awareness came from people talking and directing each other to the machines. It’s very exciting to see the impact a discount can make. We look forward to offering similar promotions in the future.” 

Avanti partners with USG 

With the goal of bringing “fun and exciting promotions” to the Avanti Markets Operator Network, Avanti Markets chose to partner with Unified Strategies Group (USG). As part of the partnership, Avanti Markets operators who are also USG members can opt-in to participate with the USG Promotions Program each quarter. USG aims to drive cost savings to its membership through rebate-based supplier programs, manufacturer volume discounts and off-invoice allowances. To its supplier partners, USG offers national scale, volume, product trials and sales performance. The program itself is customizable and includes a wide selection of choices. This is advantageous for many reasons, including the ability for operators to pick-and-choose the promotions they’d like to extend for their markets each quarter. 

In addition, some of the other benefits the operators experience include increased product lift, customer frequency, competitive advantage and new market card users. Market users enjoy the promotions as well because the promotions can help to give the market a more personal component and provide excitement and something to look forward to each quarter for new promotions.  

In order to enhance promotions, operators are encouraged to use display advertising. This helps to create additional awareness for the products and the current promotions running. 

With micro markets becoming business as usual for operators, differentiation in the growing marketplace is key to attract new consumers and to keep them coming back. Incentives and promotions offer creative opportunities and, if done well, can be memorable to customers.