Don’t look now – here comes Amazon, the newest potential competition for micro market operators. Multiple news outlets have reported that Amazon has internal plans to open 3,000 Amazon Go stores by 2021.
“It’s more important now than ever to invest in the micro market space, micro market design and the consumer experience.” 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 aggressive expansion by Amazon has the potential to threaten convenience stores, fast casual restaurants, catering trucks and depending on where the Amazon Go stores anchor themselves, micro markets. It’s a perfect fit for Amazon, with their emphasis on convenience in their physical stores.
The critical questions for micro market operators: Will Amazon Go impact my micro market locations?
It’s certainly possible. Just as Costco and Staples ramped up nationwide business delivery to grab a sizeable chunk of the office refreshment and OCS market, Amazon Go will most certainly focus on large office campuses, key downtown locations and cash-rich companies who may even be willing to pay for the Amazon Go nameplate.
It’ has been theorized that opening multiple locations near one another could reduce food costs by allowing one kitchen to serve several distribution points. Jeff Lenard of the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), told the Los Angeles Times that convenient locations will be the key for Amazon Go. That almost certainly points to larger workplace centers.
How do we prepare for this type of competition?
As Steve Orlando of Fixturelite points out, an emphasis on design will be a critical tool for micro market operators. When micro markets first made their debut, the absolute basics by design were all it took to convert an account from vending. It’s more important now than ever to remember that one of the many benefits of converting a vending location to a micro market café, was an employee’s ability to remain in the workspace during breaks and lunches. Collaborating with co-workers and an increased opportunity toward health and wellness in the workplace followed suit. “Begin to design or redesign around the employee experience in the micro market cafe, if you hadn’t before. It may be time for a remodel, and that’s a large part of what we do.” said Orlando. “While the most progressive employers might be attracted to the Amazon Go name, we can win them over now by designing a refreshment area that is not only attractive but also a place to relax, collaborate and refuel.”
According to Orlando - Today’s most favored design elements include:
- Dramatic LED lighting, using proven retail strategies.
- Commercial grade retail displays that showcase the products.
- Comfortable seating and environments that promote interaction.
- Fixturelite’s automatic facing system, for coolers, freezers and retail displays – giving the impression of an attended market in an unattended environment.