Secure Self-Checkouts A No-Brainer For Florida Vendor

Early success and two innovative products are giving Lauren Cooper the confidence to eye expansion of her young micro market business.

Lauren Cooper has only been in the vending industry for a year and a half. She started out with traditional vending machines but was hearing a lot of chatter about micro markets. In fact, one of her clients had a micro market. Less than impressed with its current vendor, that client encouraged Cooper to give it a shot.

“I took a shot and it has worked out really well,” said Cooper, who has now added a second micro market to her young business, Fit & Sweet, LLC serving Deerfield Beach and Fort Lauderdale, FL. “I definitely prefer the micro market over a vending machine. The sales and margins are better, but it also seems like there is a lot less running around. Plus, you get more face time with the client and get to build a rapport. I plan to add more micro markets in the future.”

There is one other thing Cooper plans on doing: Equipping any additional micro markets with FreshTraq and FreshPay, two innovative products that give her the safety, security and sales opportunity she needs to grow her business.

Coolers stay locked until the customer pays

With typical micro market health lock technology, a cooler is allowed to stay open until an event triggers it to be locked, such as when cooler temperatures rise to an unsafe level for food. Now, thanks to a collaboration between TriTeq and Yoke Payments, coolers can be allowed to stay locked virtually all of the time — without micro market operators having to fear a loss in sales.

“When we saw how the TriTeq health lock (FreshTraq) worked, we saw an opportunity to really flip the whole health lock concept on its head,” said Michael Johnson of Yoke. “Now a cooler stays locked until an event causes the health lock to open it.”

The event is a customer payment through FreshPay, which is an extension of Yoke’s existing self-checkout solution. In the typical micro market setting, customers can scan barcodes to add products to their cart, and then swipe a credit or debit card to pay. Customers can also create an account through the Yoke app to begin maintaining a stored value of Yoke Cash.

Regardless of payment method, when Yoke verifies a purchase made through FreshPay, the cloud-based software tells the FreshTraq health lock to unlock the cooler.

Cooper is now using FreshTraq and FreshPay at both of her micro market locations. Initially she did not have the technology set up at her first location, a 350-employee company where her micro market is located in the employee cafeteria. When Cooper added a second micro market, this time in the commons area of a six-story office building housing roughly 700 employees from several companies, an extra layer of security was appealing.

After seeing how well the technology functioned at this larger client, Cooper decided to add it to her other micro market as well. Both clients love the micro market concept, not to mention the convenient self-checkout options FreshPay allows.

Customers at the 700-employee location tend to pay through the Yoke app a bit more frequently. At the 350-employee location, swiping a credit or debit card seems to be the preferred option. That said, Cooper sees more people starting to use the payment app every wee k— mainly for the added benefit of earning rewards.

Loyalty rewards are built into FreshPay. “The neat thing is that when a customer uses Yoke Cash to buy something, they get double the loyalty points,” Johnson explained. For a micro market operator, this additional consumer spending power can result in additional sales. “Average tickets are also higher with Yoke Cash,” Johnson added. “That’s simply because of the psychological component where a customer feels like they’ve already spent the money and it’s just a number going down at this point.”

Cooper has been very pleased with the business-building opportunity this technology has afforded her — without straining her profit margin.

“There was an initial cost for equipment and software, but other than that it’s just a monthly service fee,” Cooper pointed out. “One reason I went with Yoke is because I really liked the owners of the company and felt like the service was excellent. But I also liked the fact that it would cost less to get started than it would with some systems. Most importantly, the world is moving more toward technology like this, and the team at Yoke seems like they’re always on top of things.”