Coming Soon: The Next Micro Market Boom

Jan. 31, 2019

Sometimes, the best way to see the future is to look at the past. If you believe that the past is a reliable indicator, for those in the micro market business, the next boom is around the corner.

Eventually, this economy is going to slow down. Some say it is happening already. So how does that lead to the next boom in the micro market business? All you need to do is look at past economic patterns to see the answer.

2002 – The dot-com implosion led to subsidized vending

After the dotcom implosion, the new tech stars that survived (because they were real companies) often replaced their pantry service with subsidized vending. They saved significant dollars. Seriously, why would any employee complain about paying 25 cents for a beverage or snack in the name of retaining jobs?

The economic decline at the turn of the century was very good for the vending business until the great recession, when pantry service became even more scarce and subsidized vending became less and less generous.

True recession wasn’t good for anyone.

2012 to 2019 - The red-hot post-recession economy

The pantry service business has flourished – micro markets are now on the scene, as employers seek to retain and attract talent in a tight job market.

Now - The first signs of an economic slowdown are kicking in. Fast forward to the potential near future. Office managers with pantry service are getting tougher on price, cutting back on products and the employee cubicles aren’t as filled as they were. Does this sound familiar?

The opportunity

Once again, your clients will be looking for a way to keep employees happy on a tighter budget and implement a more reasonably priced refreshment solution. This time – subsidized vending will not be the answer.

Instead, subsidized micro markets will fill the void, leading to a micro market boom that will transform the industry.

Industry veteran Steve Closser agrees that the pantry service to micro market transition is inevitable. Closser’s company, Translucent, provides a wide spectrum of consulting services and support for operators, with emphasis on micro markets.

Closser said that the use of micro market phone apps will help make the transition from pantry service to micro markets very easy for operators and users. “By the time the economy slows, the workforce will shift to such an extent toward millennials and younger - people who will clearly prefer and insist on using their phone over a kiosk.”

Key selling strategy

“Converting customers from pantry service to subsidized markets will take a skilled approach and well-prepared conversation around the benefits for doing so,” said Steve Orlando, an experienced operator of ten years who co-founded Fixturelite, the leading supplier of micro market retail displays, seating and design solutions. “Once it starts happening though, the snowball will likely gain momentum.”

Orlando says the key to converting pantry service accounts to subsidized micro markets is to focus on design elements in relation to collaboration, and morale – on what the client and their employees are gaining, not what they are giving up.

“The transition will be financially driven,” said Orlando. “Clients will likely save 50 to 70 percent by switching from a pantry service to a subsidized micro market. With that in mind,” added Orlando, “Operators should ask for a one-time portion of that savings to help design a truly exceptional workplace refreshment area. We can earn client financial support by designing a refreshment area that is not only attractive, but also a place to relax, collaborate and create better workforce productivity.”

“As operators, we are much better off delivering a subsidized micro market that will please our clients and their employees, rather than dealing with the constant price squeezing and product reductions that occur when a client is feeling the pressure to cut pantry service costs,” said Orlando. “The economic slowdown will happen eventually. Micro market operators are in a strong position to capitalize on the opportunity.”