Webinars present a great opportunity to get education beyond annual trade shows and association meetings. The one I recently attended, "4 Small Details To Improve The Micro Market Customer Experience And Increase Your Profits," was a NAMA produced event given by Greg Wilson, vice president of customer success, Avanti Markets. It covered some important elements of properly planning a micro market, whether it is a new installation or a reset of an existing location.
Start by looking at users
Wilson encouraged operators to really examine the micro market location. What is the company culture like, are there many after-hour employees, is there a focus on wellness, etc. This is key to understanding who will be shopping at the micro market and what habits they might already have at work.
The next step is diving deeper into the user demographics. What age are the employees, what collar type (Ex: blue, white, grey, pink or red-government workers) are the users, what is the average education and income level of those who will be using the micro market, etc. Wilson stressed that the importance of this information is how it can be used to optimize a micro market product selection either with an initial install or during a reset. His most important demographics to consider were spending habits, gender, and occupation.
Assessing the demographics
While a bit like stereotyping, considering end users by certain attributes can tell operators about spending habits. Wilson shared in the webinar that Millennials and Generation Xers, for example, don't tend to eat at home as often as Baby Boomers and Traditionalist. Millennials especially enjoy eating out and getting their favorite food on the go, regardless of it being more costly. Wilson showed research that as Millennial's income increases, so does the amount of money they spend on food items, and Millennial men tend to spend more than women.
It is also important to look at the brands that appeal to the younger consumer. Consider the energy drinks, ready-to-drink coffees and premium waters as well as the line extensions of traditional product suppliers for the best fit items.
Wilson then said it was time to get in the "retail mindset." His first rule of thumb was to place the kiosk at the end of the micro market, ensuring the user must walk along and see all options. His other suggestions included:
- Highlight a wellness area in the middle
- Place high margin products at the top and at eye level
- Keep fruit and impulse items within easy reach of the kiosk
- Fill a food cooler with water and other drinks at the bottom to make it appear fuller
- Candy should go near the bottom of displays
Create a POG and reset regularly
Once this baseline information has been gathered and considered, it's time to create a planogram (POG) for each type of demographic or account type using all the trend information available and best practices from retail. There should be several varieties to address different demographics. The POG should also come in a variety of sizes to ensure it fits into any size micro market fixture. The POG can then be used over and over as a template for each new micro market account the company adds.
After the micro market opens, Wilson suggests doing a reset after 6 months. Take the sales data over a timeframe (typically 3 months) and divide quantity sold per day per row. This illustrates clearly which products are selling well and which should be replaced with new items or items that have a promotional value. Wilson suggests at minimum all micro markets should be reset every 12 months. Turnover rates are high, which means in 12 months between 20 and 80 percent of the employees at a location could be new. Operators don't want to miss sales because the POG hasn't been adjusted to the new user preferences, nor because the new employees don't know how to use the micro market.
Wilson was a great presenter and very knowledgeable. You can learn more about this webinar at: https://www.namanow.org/education-2/webinar-series. Also stay tuned for other webinar opportunities as a way to continue learning and continue growing.