The Micro Market Design Newsletter asked a variety of front-line micro market professionals to give their opinions on the state of the micro market business — present and future.
What are you seeing right now in the micro market business?
Sean Sullivan - Food Service and Micro-Market Operations - AVI Foodsystems, Cleveland, Ohio
“Micro market interest has absolutely exploded in the last five months. Client/partners, which are able to bring their team members back into the offices and facilities, are looking for safe options with added value.”
Sandy Schoenthaler - Micro Market and Vending - Consultant and Trainer
“My clients are crazy busy — I have put in 22 markets since the beginning of the pandemic. It’s about keeping people in the office, it is about employee safety — employers don’t want them leaving. Some have shut down the food delivery services. They don’t want those services coming into their facility.”
Steve Closser - Co-founder of Translucent
"In the distribution and manufacturing sector, it’s going great, in white collar, sales are still down. Blue and grey collar locations are doing very well, and my clients are installing plenty of markets in those types of locations.”
What is going to change in micro markets due to the pandemic?
Dave Mandella - VP Sales, Refreshment Services - American Food and Vending
“There has been more interest in the past three months than ever before about having a completely touchless world. Mobile apps will continue to grow in use. The emergence of COVID-19 has brought mobile payments to the forefront. Mobile apps are going to be the new norm.”
“With only 5% of the volume coming through kiosks in cash, the necessity of being able to take cash in a micro market just isn’t there anymore.”
Jon Holden– Director of Sales - All Star Services
Three things will be changed in micro markets going forward.
1) Cleaning and Sanitizing. “We need to be active and visible in our cleaning efforts. Every time our employees enter the market, they need to be cleaning and sanitizing, whether they are filling the market or on a service call."
2) Touchless solutions and contactless checkout. “We need to utilize apps and find other touch free solutions to help people feel safer.”
3) Market flow. “We need to focus on one-way traffic patterns and think about micro market design. The objective should be to funnel people through the market in a smooth traffic pattern, get them to the kiosk and allow them to move on.”
Josh Rosenberg – NAMA Chairman
“We are going to have to educate our clients around the safety of our products, on how they are handled and the fact that they are being disinfected and that there is no risk of infection associated with our products.”
“Pump stations and sanitization needs in every location — it is a great opportunity for small operators.”
“We need to reach out to all the vendors in our supply chain to demand materials that show how they are keeping our products clean.”
“Consumer behavior has been influenced. Safety factors and practices will be in place for a long time and it is going to cost more.”
Steve Closser - Co-founder of Translucent
“Touchless transactions — no question about it.”
“We are also testing some things — adding products to micro markets that are designed to eliminate one extra stop on the way from work. Can we provide toiletries and a gallon of milk?”
“We also see foodservice and micro markets working in conjunction using an order ahead app. No cashiers, no money, all order ahead. Instead of a cafeteria line, you place your order for pick up — sort of a short order cook setup. Cafeteria lines are gone.”
Andrea Botchie - Micro Market Guru – SRM Delivery
“Going forward as we grow and add markets, we will probably look at the design a little differently — making sure that the market is spaced out enough for customers to shop in non-constricting space, but we’ve always designed our markets to flow in a circular path.”
Sean Sullivan - Food Service and Micro Market Operations - AVI Foodsystems, Cleveland, Ohio
Looking forward — “The tech developments in touch free ordering and payment options combined with the unlimited product selections and open space configurations of micro markets offer the ideal solution.”
Kevin Stroud - Director Business Development at Canteen Coastal of California
Looking ahead — “A move toward touch free technology.”