Ready For It??

Cold and flu season is coming … are your markets ready for it?!

All employers want healthy employees! And all operators should want healthy employees, because they can’t purchase from your markets from home (and, of course, because you care about the well-being of others in general, too)!

Stock your markets with the cold and flu fighting products that keep everybody healthy and happy … 

One great option is the Lil’ Drug Store – an all-in-one medicine solution!

 

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Be sure to stock up on other winter essentials like tissues, soup, and hot coffee (see our Office Coffee Solutions HERE)!

Stay healthy and stay successful.

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Blogs We Love! …

Here’s a great blog from the Staff at Vending Market Watch back in 2016!  It may be older, but it’s still very much relevant.  Take a look … 

THE 5 MUSTS OF SELLING NEW PRODUCTS IN YOUR MICRO MARKET

The ins and outs of introducing new snacks into micro markets.

New Products

Snacking has been steadily growing over the past several years. According to new Technomic research 83 percent of consumers in 2016 snack on a daily basis, which is 7 percent higher than previous years. This is great news for micro market operators because one of the best things about micro markets is the variety of snacking options available for operators to offer consumers. Unlike vending, micro markets have few, if any snack restrictions, and can be home to products of different sizes, multiple flavors, various dayparts and top-selling brands.

One big mistake micro market operators make is not introducing new snacks frequently enough, making a market feel stale. Without new, trendy and seasonal products, consumers just won’t come to shop. Here are the top 5 tricks of the trade micro market operators use to successfully introduce new options.

#1: LISTEN TO THE CLIENT

Micro market operators have the option of offering a much larger number of stock-keeping units (SKUs) compared to vending. But of the thousands or so new products introduced each year, how does a company decide which products to offer?

First and foremost new products need to meet a consumer demand. Operators should speak with clients about their specific requests and/or general desires. For example, many locations want to go healthy, asking for no salt or low sodium snacks, gluten-free chips, high protein energy bars and other very specific products. Other locations might just ask for granola bars, without the specifics of what they define as healthy. Find out what criteria will meet the need and seek out products from there.

Second, operators should consider hosting an open house and/or tasting event at the micro market. This not only creates excitement and brings people into the micro market, it allows for immediate feedback on the new products. Consumers love having their opinion matter, so try asking them to vote on the new micro market items they like best. Work those items in during the next round of new product introductions. Ever-changing consumer snacking trends mean operators should, on a consistent basis, discuss new product introductions with clients.

#2: INTRODUCE NEW ITEMS IN A TIMELY MANNER

Once you know generally the type of items a location wants, the next question becomes, how often should you introduce new products? There is no magic number or timeframe used by every operator. Some operators attempt to receive at least two new items per week across all categories. This requires reviewing the distributor’s ordering guide continuously and strict warehouse management of all the new SKUs.

Other operators introduce one to two items per month, keeping the micro market fresh and new without there being a continuous turnover of new products. Review rebate offers and manufacturer promotions for ideas, but also make sure the items meet location requests or demographic preferences.

Designate a certain number of SKUs as NEW, and use those to track your rotation of new items or assign the management of new SKUs to a specific warehouse supervisor to ensure you can regularly and efficiently refresh the micro market product line.

#3: PROMOTE THE NEW PRODUCT

There are several ways to emphasize new products in micro markets; in a cooler or on a shelf operators can hang a brightly colored tag reading “new” or use a static cling. Using a tag or cling means the product can reside with other ‘like’ items while remaining distinguishable and drawing the consumer’s eye. New products can also be placed in a space on their own near the entrance of the micro market, letting consumers know immediately that the market has been ‘refreshed’ with new items.

Another way of promoting new products is utilizing digital advertising and displaying new items on monitors and kiosks. Since all consumers need to use the kiosk to pay, an operator can be sure the new product marketing message is being seen by market users.

Some micro market systems also allow operators to send customers direct email, which is a great way to market new products. However, don’t inundate a person’s inbox or they will block you. Also, it’s a good idea to offer promotions around new products in emails and other marketing messages, such as bundling for a discount or a buy one, get one offer. This has been shown to raise awareness and sales of new products.

#4: REVISIT PAST PRODUCTS

Just because a product didn’t sell well once, doesn’t mean it won’t sell well in the future. Reviving products back into a micro market can have a positive effect on sales. If a location begins requesting an item that was previously tried, operators should consider reintroducing the product. Management and clientele changes or the evolution of snacking trends can mean a product that did not meet consumer needs a few months ago could generate incremental sales today.

Also, look at different varieties and sizes of products that are being requested again. Perhaps the item suffered due to a lower perceived value. Talk to the location, ask for specifics about the product; brand, flavor, package size, etc. You could uncover that a larger (or smaller) bag would be more welcome, or opting for a more trendy superfood ingredient makes a difference.

#5: REVIEW THE NUMBERS

Data is king when it comes to introducing new products. In fact, data lets operators know which new products are moving and those that need to be replaced or moved. Because of the massive amount of products and ever-changing consumer snacking trends, it’s important to do at least weekly inventory management of products, regardless of how many new product introductions an operator makes. By reviewing the data, operators can make room for new products as well as removing, re-pricing or repositioning items that aren’t selling.

Repositioning items can be especially helpful for increasing the sale of new items. Try adding a display at the kiosk to increase impulse purchases of the new item, or draw attention to it. Or try reorganizing the snack display, giving the new items more prominence. Benchmark the sales data before and after the change, to ensure sales are increasing, as well as not adversely affecting sales of other items.

New snack offerings in micro markets can revitalize market sales and bring excitement; operators should be sure to place the same amount of attention on new product introduction and selection as they did to the micro market when it first opened.

Changing your store based on holidays …

If we’ve said it once, we will say it again …

Your micro market inventory should never be static! Let’s think about the benefits of a micro market vs. a vending machine:

  • Virtually no restrictions on product size
  • No restriction on type of product
  • Increase product space
  • Easy to update, change, move, and fill products

Did you know that 70.6% of Americans hand out candy and are spending approximately $25 each to do so!

Stat via https://www.thebalance.com/halloween-spending-statistics-facts-and-trends-3305716

As a micro market operator you have a captive audience at hand, why not become a part of the estimated $9.1 billion dollars that will be spent on Halloween this year? By updating your product selection and adding seasonal items … such as Halloween Candy … you can increase your market traffic significantly!

Shoppers like to see frequent small changes to their frequented locations.  By changing up your market you can increase your client’s product knowledge and interests!

Using Three Square Market’s predictive inventory management system, you as a market owner can understand what your high, medium and low performing products are.  We encourage our operators to utilize all aspects of our system including rewards, loyalty, and coupons, predictive inventory management, mobile applications, and more!

Happy Halloween!

What Coffee Brewer is right for you?

Half-full? Half-empty? These options will help your cup ‘runneth over’! 

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There are a lot of options on the market for micro market operators, and it’s easy to pick based on just one piece of information … BUT don’t get trapped by picking the lowest cost or the highest retail price point! Just because something is the lowest price often times doesn’t mean it’s the best value.  Let’s take a look!

See our Comparison Chart Here: http://bit.ly/2yT76wW

  1. Your standard cup brewer (Any single-serve machine)
    The positives: low-cost investment, low maintenance, popular products.
    The negatives: This brewer is the same as many household single-serve brewers. Low originality can lose you a large percentage of sales, short life-span, a high cost of product = low-profit margins.
    Where do we recommend?: We recommend using these machines as a trial coffee solution or in very small office settings. 
  2.  The medium level coffee brewer (Our favorite is Newco)
    The positives: medium-cost investment, very low cost of products, high-quality output, and the highest profit margins. 
    The negatives: increased maintenance and the cost of entry can be daunting for a first timer.
    Where do we recommend using it?: We recommend using these in medium to large markets, and even small markets with high coffee consumption. These are the top-rated employer-paid OCS solution coffee makers as chosen by your peers! Overall, this is a great machine for any market setting!
  3. The high-level coffee brewer (We use Bravilor Bonamat, straight from our European operators to you!)
    The positive: Quality, quality quality.
    The negatives: High cost of entry, involved maintenance.
    Where do we recommend using it?: We recommend this option anywhere you have discerning coffee drinkers. It’s great for both medium and large markets and can definitely keep up with volume output. You can schedule maintenance alerts and the machine does a lot of the work for you. This coffee maker has top-notch quality coffee and specialty coffee products. If you’re competing with local coffee houses, this is the way to go! You can price your products under the expensive chains but still, make a great profit margin!

Bottom-line: There are a lot of great options and any one of them might be right for you. Make sure you think about your clients, your locations, your business owner, the long-term, and your schedule before you make the choice that is right for you. AND if you need help … we’re here for you! 

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