Consumers love micro markets. The convenience, product variety and overall experience are among the top reasons why they do so well. It’s a store front in the workplace. As such, it is affected by the laws of retail which include design and merchandising.
Whether you were a micro market pioneer or were last in your area to get into the micro market game, considering when and how to upgrade fixtures and displays is important. Good design can increase profits by bringing in customers. Poor design won’t drive away customers, but sales will suffer. Depending on the displays and age, it might be time to shop for some new micro market displays and merchandisers. Here are three signs it’s time to renovate a micro market location.
1. If your fixtures are attached to the wall
A recent article in Automatic Merchandiser talks about how metal grid walls and other early micro market shelving that affix to the wall are dated and not the best option for today’s locations. It relies too heavily on what’s around it, rather than standing alone. Operators can’t control what the break room looks like, but they can use displays, lighting, cooler design and signage to draw customers into the micro market, if the displays are all free standing.
Steve Orlando, co-founder of Fixturelite said micro market fixtures should create an experience for the customer and contribute to the culture of the business. It’s a space worth investing in as it further entrenches an operator with the location.
2. If sales are good, but the location is over 4 years old
There weren’t as many micro market display options four years ago as exist today. That means the look and feel of the micro market is likely dated. Back then the customer was probably just happy to have this new break room solution. The newness is wearing off and now the market needs to reflect your commitment to your business and the partnership with the location. While many retail spaces average 5 to 10 years between remodels, the quality and look of early micro markets will determine if it needs an update. Plus, the revenue already coming in should help finance the remodel.
Using the multiple years of sales data, operators should determine a weekly sales per square foot. This is an excellent benchmark that can both help set a remodel budget and show an increase in sales after install, which is a primary goal. Research supports the idea that changing a location boosts sales. An Australian study from Monash University found that new and existing customers shopped more at remodeled retailers. It increased how much they bought and improved the perception of the location.
3. If there is a lot of competition in your market
Most remodels are driven by competition. A consultant in retail solutions, Andrew Swedenborg, says 99 out of 100 times the reason for a remodel is competition, as discussed in a Retail Leader article. There is a lot to lose if a competitor comes in with a newer, fresher design. However, there are benefits to a remodel beyond keeping the customer location. Swedenborg explains that a quality remodel causes excitement and elevates the space in the eyes of the customer.
A word about costs
According to Convenience Store News, in 2015 convenience store operators spent more than $400,000 dollar on each store remodel, on average. If your eyes got big at that number, you are not alone. That includes land and building upgrades that go beyond displays, fixtures and in-store accessories in such larger locations, but it’s still a hefty number. They also wait longer between renovations, 10 years on average. However, the money they spend should be a wake-up call to micro market operators looking to save some pennies on displays. Often spending a bit more initially will ensure a longer lasting design that keeps customers coming in. Successful operators do research on design or invest in a good designer that can assure a contemporary, but not overly trendy design that will go out of fashion in a few months. This is the best way to ensure a long-term return.