When you are a leading technology company in the micro market industry, it is only logical that the micro market in your own facility should showcase the best products that the industry has to offer. With that in mind, 365 Retail Markets embarked on a journey to build such a micro market about 18 months ago.
The grand opening of their Troy, MI, micro market is just around the corner. The thought and the planning process that was required to accomplish the lofty goals associated with 365’s micro market, designed for its own new facility, was quite impressive.
The goal: “a dream market”
“From the beginning of the planning process, we knew that we wanted to create a dream micro market,” said Linde Hutson, director of global marketing, communications and training for 365 Retail Markets. Hutson and her team had a list of key objectives for the micro market and, along the way, realized that the market would give them the opportunity to enhance their own understanding of the operator, the location and the end user perspective.
A team approach
Hutson was a key member of the team from 365 that collaborated with Steve Orlando and the design and manufacturing team at Fixturelite , the leading supplier of micro market retail displays, equipment and design tools and solutions, to make their “dream market” a reality.
“It’s always refreshing to be an integral part of the design and planning process,” Orlando said. “The 365 team had a thoughtful approach, along with a clear understanding of their objectives.”
Objective No. 1 – employee satisfaction
“Our old micro market did the job for us when it came to snacks and drinks, but it wasn’t really a working showroom.” said Mollie Krupp, director of people and careers for 365 Retail Markets, who was also part of the planning team. “In HR, we think of our employees as customers, and we want our customers to be satisfied and excited about the products and services we offer.”
Krupp said the new micro market is more of a technology café where people can hang out with their co-workers as they enjoy the coffee, food and beverage selections. “It is an enhanced cultural experience of what 365 Retail Markets is all about,” added Hutson.
Traffic flow in mind
Madalyn Bommarito, creative manager at 365 Retail Markets, has been described by her team as “a superstar” in helping design the market with Fixturelite. She said that traffic flow was an important consideration in designing the market. When it came to seating, Bommarito and her team collaborated with Fixturelite and focused on making sure the market would be “COVID-safe.” The result was plenty of smaller seating areas, an uncrowded layout and even some areas where an employee could work alone or in small groups of two or three. “Our experience in managing traffic flow and designing ‘COVID-safe’ spaces while keeping the customer experience in mind was helpful here,” Orlando added. “Traffic flow has been a design priority in the past year.”
The design process
Bommarito explained that the design process was built from a solid group effort, which included 365’s design team and Steve Orlando of Fixturelite. “In many cases, it came down to all of us working together and agreeing on what it should look like and how the market should be laid out,” she said.
“Fixturelite is very professional,” said Bommarito, as she reflected on the process. “Steve was able to create virtual design tours of the space for us with their design software so we were able to see exactly what the space would look like. If I wanted a color to be slightly changed, he was able to do that. And Fixturelite’s collections provided us with many options that we could pick from. Working with Steve made this job very easy.”
Creating a multifunctional space
“The goal was to create a neutral space that allowed 365’s customers to envision what they could build in their own space. We created seven different destinations in the new lounge where their employees and visitors could experience and achieve a higher level of understanding around 365’s technology solutions” Orlando said. “We focused on creating a space that was multifunctional and would lend itself to company meetings, film and video shoots, and marketing and training sessions, and serve as a fantastic amenity for their employees. At every turn, redesign or change to the project, with multiple objectives in mind, we had to ask ourselves, does this idea continue to meet the project parameters and goals of the customer? We are very proud of what we all accomplished here.”
Objective No. 2 – build a showcase market
Hutson said that throughout the process, those involved never lost sight of their key objective of making the 365 micro market a place to showcase their technology products: a place to create images and videos for both operator and employee training and a venue that would serve as a powerful sales tool when visited by prospective clients.
Hands on training
“Because we have such a robust support team, we have internal training every day,” Hutson said.“We also have continuing education because we want everybody at 365 to know what we do, how we do it, and how every system works, and to be educated on all of our technology and any new developments. We also do approximately 12 to 18 external operator training sessions of our systems per week. This market is designed to give us a really good way for people to have more hands-on training.”
A business development showcase
Jim Versical, sales manager at 365 Retail Markets, is excited about having the new 365 market available as the ultimate showroom for business development. Versical said the new market will allow him to showcase micro market kiosks, the Pico™ Cooler and 365’s mobile ordering technology. “Throughout the pandemic, we've seen a rise in mobile ordering use cases. Being able to put that on display in our facility is huge for us,” he added.
Looking to the future
Versical also sees the new micro market as a laboratory of sorts – a place to test future products in a real-world setting. “As this industry in the past 12 months has evolved so rapidly, it's clear that the changes are happening now faster than ever. Having an environment where we are able to experiment and make changes in real time will be a benefit to us and our customers,” he said.
Products that go hand in hand
Because Joe and his team expressed their trust in us from the very first conversation, it made designing a market that showcased so many aspects of what 365 Retail Markets has to offer that much easier,” said Orlando. “Our products go hand in hand with theirs and the final result is a space that engages the customer and makes them feel welcome.”
In the next micro market design newsletter, we will take a close look at the finished product – the dream micro market at the new 365 Retail Markets facility.
Contact Fixturelite for your own dream market.
ABOUT BOB TULLIO
Industry consultant and contributing editor Bob Tullio (www.tullioB2B.com) is a content specialist who advises operators in the convenience services industry on how to build a successful business from the ground up. Tullio recently launched a YouTube channel, b2b Perspective, designed to “elevate your business in two minutes” and is currently developing an online course, Leverage the power of LinkedIn to grow your business.
As he is a recognized industry expert in business development and sales, NAMA retained him to write and narrate the new online course, “Selling Convenience Services,” which is now available. Use discount code B2B10 for an instant discount and for free access to upcoming Q&A Webinars from Tullio in the coming months. Here is a free sample of the course.