As the number of micro markets in the USA continues to grow, the landscape and the expectations of clients is changing rapidly. The Second Wave of micro markets is here. Clients want much more. As an operator, you need to ask yourself an important question: Is your company ready?
The First Wave was easy for operators to navigate. To clients, the micro market was like a new toy. For operators, the message was easy. “Here are the coolers, here are racks, here is the security camera, here is the kiosk – just swipe and go.” For clients, the concept was magical. More selection, no more coin jams, better fresh food and cashless convenience.
First Wave: “How soon can we have the market installed?”
Once they understood what a micro market entailed, the primary question from clients during the First Wave was “How soon can we have the market installed?”
“I was an operator during the early days of micro markets,” said Steve Orlando, an experienced operator of ten years who co-founded Fixturelite, the leading supplier of micro market retail displays, seating and design features.“It was a different situation during the early days of micro markets,” he said. “You could basically line up some equipment and shelving, add a kiosk and everyone would be thrilled. Things have changed.”
Second Wave: "What is the market going to look like and how will it reflect our corporate culture?”
Now that decision makers have seen micro markets in other offices and fully understand the concept, the question for operators has changed from “How soon can I have the market installed?” – to this: “OK, I understand what a micro market is. What is the market going to look like and how will it reflect our corporate culture?”
“It is reminiscent of what has happened with single cup brewers in the OCS business,” said Orlando. “Bells and whistles plus convenience was enough to make the early single cup brewers an easy sale. Today, clients want more before they buy – Is it costly? Is it sustainable? Will this reflect a coffee house experience? Where is the coffee coming from?”
“Operators are investing in design and talking about the importance of design with the client in the very first meeting.”
“We are now far beyond just creating a refreshment space. Today, work is taking place outside of the workstation, the cubicle and the conference room. Employees are seeking and finding a comfortable place in the office to get work done. The breakroom has evolved into that key area for relaxation, for collaboration and for work,” said Orlando. “The operators who are investing in design and talking about the importance of design with the client in the very first meeting – these are the operators who will succeed in the Second Wave of micro markets.”
What will the Third Wave bring? “Stay tuned,” said Orlando. “There is plenty more to come in this industry.”