Stimulate Sales with Selection, Display & Rotation!

In a great blog series about the Four P’s of micro markets from 2016, Tim Sanford and Emily Jed so into great depth to describe and explain each of the P’s as presented by multiple operators at the ACE show in 2015.

The second P stands for Product. We’ll break down the details for you here:

Knowing as we do that micro markets demand a significant increase in products, it’s easy to understand why presenter, James Bourne, says “You need your distributors to understand [micro markets]. Thus, supplier management is an essential component of successful micro market operations.”

The definition of Supplier Managment is the various acts of identifying, acquiring and managing the products and/or resources needed to run your business. 

Current consumer demands and understanding what your specific customers want is imperative to your micro market success. We would suggest that you use and encourage the use of the suggestion button on Three Square Market kiosks.  If you are looking for great suggestions try adding an incentive for products information!

Prevalent Consumer Demands:

Healthier, alternative snacks: Ranging from baked and low-carb selections to gluten-free, organic or all-nature products.  Distributors continue to work to bring these products into the industry, but availability can be difficult to source based on region. Bourne suggests, “Operators can do their homework to compile market information that can persuade a distributor to stock desirable new items.”

Brands Matter: 61% consider their brand of choice to be an important attribute of a snack. 73% of consumers look for a favorite brand when choosing a snack.

Sales Surges: An IRI for calendar years 2011 to 2014

  • Candy 33%
  • Salty Snacks 32%
  • Pastry 16%
  • Meat Snacks 13%
  • Nuts & Seeds 9%

“Bourne emphasized that precise inventory control is essential in micro markets.  Each market should be inventoried at least monthly, and drivers should carry tablet computers with scanners for best, speed and accuracy. Each inventory visit should be followed by preparation of a ‘no scan items’ report, which helps to identify slow-moving items — 15% of market inventory. ‘Watch this,’ he warned. ‘Don’t let your market get sparse; they can’t look unattended.'”

Let us interject here because A) we totally agree and B) Three Square Market has made this process even easier! Check out our intelligent inventory management that will identify each of your products movement/pattern in each market. Also, learn how you can manage your inventory via a smartphone during market visits! 

Planograms are essential to micro markets.  The object being to apportion space to a  product category on the basis of its sales volume. Need a starting point? You can use vending sales as a good place to begin your market planogram and then expand to the added products you’d like to carry.

Bourne said, “Be sure to carry strong local and regional brands, as well as the national best-sellers. … Consumers will search for these products.”

Understanding Placement of Products: (more p’s)

Placement of products in display cases is important. Bourne says, “You should place your top sellers on the bottom shelves,” and goes on to say, “Place impulse, discontinued and high gross-profit items on the top shelves; and put new items at eye level, ideally in the ‘first’ position — closest to the door handle — because that’s where the customer looks first.”

Planograms should be refreshed at least quarterly.  Bourne tells us, “Our goal when we do this is to eliminate 10 to 15 items, and introduce 10 to 15 new ones.”  Updating promotions in accordance with the market refresh can boost sales and invite new market users.

Pre-kitting can not only make your market restock more efficient but also will free up enough time for your driver to check inventory, ensure cleanliness of the market, face market products, and maximize your market potential.

When dealing with portion sizes for your products, Bourne suggests looking at demographics, stating that “Males tend to want large sandwiches; women often want smaller ones … we try to provide something for everyone.”

Fresh Food Programs:

“Bourne emphasized that a good fresh-food program can be essential in realizing the full earnings potential of a micro market. ‘Fresh food represents 30% of overall sales,’ he reported.”

Fresh food in your micro market is shown to draw added customers to your market and can lead to the increased value of the average purchase.  Our writers add, “For best results, it’s important to rotate menu options, slot in seasonal and holiday-themed selections and feature regional favorites, when possible.”

Again, it’s important to understand that supply management of your fresh food is incredibly important and attention to detail in this area is required.

Micro market operators can make price changes in real-time. Bourne gives the example, “Anything that sells for $3 or more and has a sell-by date of today can be discounted to $1.99. You could offer 10% off all sandwich sales on Fridays.”

Another interject … try using our expiration management system to make sure you are staying on top of your expiring products so that you can make these price changes without missing the boat!

Bourne describes a food cooler and freezer layouts … We’ve made images to make it easier to show you!

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Destination Grouping:

“Bourne said, the operator should design a micro market installation with ‘destination zones’ in mind.  Thus, a ‘breakfast zone’ might position the coffee brewer in proximity to display containing pastry, and an ‘impulse zone’ near the checkout kiosk can feature gum and mint selections.”

Our writers suggest “for purposes of positioning and promotion, it can be useful to remember that the ‘dayparts’ of a typical micro market operation are breakfast, a morning snack (9-11 AM), lunch, an afternoon snack (2-4 PM), and dinner/ride home.

“Bourne concluded by pointing out that snacks, food, and beverages sold in convenience stores … not dissimilar to the one that patronizes micro markets. Both rely very largely on preportioned single-serving products, and he suggested that a solid starting-point for thinking about the expanded variety of items needed to keep a micro market interesting to patrons is to study the data on c-store performance and sales trends published by market research organizations.”

Bottomline:

Your product selection is a major part of your micro market success.  Be creative and flexible with your products and planogram, and always keep working on your markets!

 

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Blogs We Love: VendingMarketWatch.com 10 Reasons Micro Markets are better than Cafeterias!

Here’s another blog we love!  We hope you love it too … 

10 Reasons Why a Micro Market is Better than a CafeteriaMarket vs. Cafeteria

By VendingMarketWatch.com

1. It’s Employee Paid. Offering food and drinks to employees is a powerful benefit for companies looking to attract and retain good quality workers. However, food budgets can be hard to prove return on investment for in some areas. The retiring of the foodservice decision maker or an uncertain corporate climate can affect cafeterias, cafes and pantry service. The new person or board might feel the money would be better spent elsewhere. Conversely, because the capital outlay by the location for a micro market is zero, it is less affected by budgets and executives.

2. It’s Grab and Go. At work, people are searching for quick, convenient eating options. There is more snacking and fewer sit down meals during a workday, which means micro markets are a great option. The service is 24-7, giving everyone the flexibility to snack when they need an energy boost and everything is prepackaged for easy shopping of ingredients.

3. It’s Fewer Upfront Costs. Cafeterias require a number of additional upfront costs including grills, washing stations, food temperature logs, walk-in coolers, etc. Micro markets are much simpler, with a comparatively low upfront equipment cost. A micro market needs a few coolers, shelving, a kiosk and internet connection. Any add-ons can be discussed with the location and purchased by them to add that positive employee experience they want to create in the space.

4. It Allows Bulk Buying. Since micro markets use so many prepackaged products that can be used in vending and other markets, it increases the volume of items operators order, allowing them to get better pricing from the suppliers. A great purchasing manager can also work to take advantage of special offers and rebates. This can enable micro market operators to tie in better-priced products to on-site promotions that will drive sales at each location.

5. It Offers Cost Balance. While fresh food is a key component of both cafeterias and micro markets, cafeterias rely more heavily on their food offerings. Food means waste and a smaller margin. Micro markets, on the other hand, allow operators to provide a good mix of food options and shelf-stable products, such as bagged breakfast items and treats. Micro markets can even include non-edibles options that employees crave, such as small electronics or smartphone chargers.

6. It Serves A Wider Range Of Locations. Unlike cafeterias that require a few hundred employees on site, a micro market can be successful with between 100 to 200. It’s a much more flexible option with what type of checkout is available, including full, freestanding kiosks to small, tablet-based checkout that can be placed on a counter next to a small shelf and cooler combo. Micro markets also work in a broad range of businesses from manufacturing to offices.

7. It Requires No Additional Staff Onsite. Having a cafeteria means having staff on site. From cooks to cashiers, it’s more people to hire, train and manage. Comparatively, a micro market requires a route driver and support staff, people who are already on the payroll at an operation. There is no staff required to keep it open, yet a micro market offers more hours of operation to the employees making it a worthwhile benefit.

8. It Includes Supported Marketing Efforts.Consumers love getting a deal, especially when it’s a product they enjoy eating. With new features being added by micro market suppliers, promotions, special pricing, and loyalty programs are easier than ever to schedule. Many micro markets have built-in programs operators can simply turn on and off. Others have special relationships with suppliers for great partnerships. Either way, micro markets make marketing easier and more engaging with customer-focused apps and interactive touchscreens.

9. It Means No Waiting In Line. Everything is made ahead of time and prepackaged, eliminating lines of people waiting to order or for their items to be cooked. Micro market customers can just browse the selections and make a purchase. Many even offer mobile checkout apps to eliminate

the queue at the kiosk. It also encourages repeat business during the day. After all, it’s much more inviting to purchase a pack of gum in the afternoon if you know it will be a quick checkout than waiting in line for the cashier to ring up other employees.

10. It Requires A Smaller Footprint. Unlike cafes and cafeterias that need food prep and storage areas, micro markets are all about product display and sales. The configuration, number of coolers, kiosk placement, type of shelving and even how the equipment is powered is flexible. It’s a solution that adapts to locations large or small much more easily than a foodservice solution. It’s scalable as well – a solution that can grow with a company.

 

Kudos Automatic Merchandiser and VendingMarketWatch.com, we agree! Micro markets have a lot of great components that cafeterias alone don’t have!

Market Sales to the MAX!

New to micro markets?  Have you been incorporating them for years?  Micro markets have been growing steadily for years and gaining in popularity.  Markets offer operators the ability to increase their revenues by 4x’s their previous vending earnings.  For extremely diligent operators we’ve seen as much as 10x’s their previous revenues and here is how:

1. Give the customers what they want!

Micro markets are meant to be fresh! And we don’t mean just fresh food options, although those are an important part! Fresh … micro markets need to be changed, adjusted, updated and renewed all the time!

Use Three Square Market’s intelligent inventory management to know when products have come to the end of their lifecycle and it’s time to move in new, exciting products!

2. Promotional Sales and Loyalty

Promotions, loyalty, rewards, coupons! There is a reason mega stores like Targets and Walmarts introduce programs to increase their customer’s involvement with their stores … it’s because it creates the relationship between a person and your business! In a social media heavy world – customers what to feel connected to your store!

Using Three Square Market’s loyalty/rewards/coupon system will develop personal relationships with your clients and which will encourage them to become a loyal customer of your market!

3. Using the system to its MAX.

Like anything, the best things in this world take some work. We want you to be successful so we’ve developed the 32M University. We strongly suggest that no matter where you are in your micro market world that you take our 32M University course to ensure that you know the in’s and out’s of the system.

There are SO many amazing features within our system and we want you to USE them! Build your success by building your knowledge! Talk to your salesperson or our customer service staff today to learn more!!!

Customer Service: 715.386.2233

Or follow our YouTube!

A One-Stop-Shop

We are here for you … for everything you need for a micro market! Here are a few things that we offer, that you may not know about!

Products for your store! 

We have an entire section of our online store dedicated to “Stocking Your Store!” This category is filled with market worthy options that are proven in many existing 32Market stores.  Products like these can provide you a huge profit and your clients that items they’ve been looking for! Check these options out!

Equipment!

It’s true you can get equipment anywhere … but from 32M we not only have great prices but time tested products that we promise you will love!

Security and Internet!

That’s right, you can pick up these market essentials from our store rather than searching everywhere else. And bonus, we’ve tested them all and know that our options are the best product for you and come with great customer service! (OptConnect and Night Owl  – we’re looking at you!)

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Who can forget, Bundles!

Okay, we talk about this A LOT, but seriously, it’s the best price you’ll find anywhere to get your market started …. or add a second location to your already busy market in a large office.

Get your ENTIRE market for just:

Find a better price … we dare you. 🙂

Bottom line, we’re here for you … from the very beginning we put our customers first and always aim to have the best value and best products for our operators. Give it a shot and take a look at our web store: 32MarketStore.com

Plus, our amazing sales people are always just a phone call away …

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Not the mailbox anymore …

We know the joke … our kiosk looks like a mailbox.  BUT that was years ago, and it hasn’t looked like that for a long time. Reality is, that we continue to Upgrade, Enhance, Develop and Grow at a rate that our competition CAN’T and HASN’T kept up with.

Here are the facts:

FACT: Unlike other micro market providers, we don’t outsource our kiosks. At 32M, we design & build our kiosks in-house. AND to top it all off, our kiosks have been thoroughly tested, and yes, have evolved over more than a decade of use through 32M and our sister company, TurnKey Corrections.

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Here are a few other inaccuracies you may be lead to believe:

Misconception: 365 Retail Markets is the only micro market provider with PCI certification.

FACT: Three Square Market (32M) currently holds the highest level of PCI (v3.1) and PA-DSS certification of anyone in the industry, including 365.

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Misconception: We're selling our business.

FACT: Three Square Market (32M) is growing! We’re a proud family-owned business that isn’t going anywhere! We have markets on 4 continents and we don’t plan on stopping there.

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Misconception: You can have the same mobile experience with any provider.

FACT: 32M has a PATENTED mobile checkout process – meaning only with 32M can you have the mobile app checkout option that we provide. Because … well … it’s patented! Check it out for yourself, U.S. Patent Number US9,171,300 B2

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More than 75% of Millennials have their mobile devices glued to their palm while in store as a trusted personal shopping assistant and 73% of Millennials are already transacting directly on their mobile devices.

Our Smartphone App is the MOST important tool you can offer …

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85% of US Millennials own a smartphone. 32M has an exclusive smartphone checkout application. Available on Android and Apple.
A recent study from comScore found that 18% of Millennials, are mobile-only web users, compared to the only 5% of people ages 35-54.

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Millennials make up 45% of the workplace, far greater than any other demographic and by 2025, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Millennials will account for 75% of the global workforce.

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53% of job recruiters feel it is difficult to attract and retain Millennial talent. Having great employee options like a Break Room Market will increase recruiting potential.

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

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Not the mailbox anymore …

Our Theory When It Comes to Presentations – Whether to Say or Ask Something….or Not?

Many of you ask “how do I present this product?” when it comes to markets.  At 32M, we will provide you all of the tools and training required to be successful at selling locations.  But often, the difference maker in whether or not you nail that new account or upgrade that location to a market is how you present.  This includes asking the right questions or making bold statements, especially asking the hard questions.

So, the fair question is: “How do you know the line between asking a question or saying something that is out of bounds and not?”  Here is my theory and I call it “The Say It Triangle”.  Let me be more specific by first defining the three sides of the triangle.

  1. Side One – Professional: Is the question professional?  Specifically, is it a professional topic or not and is it asked in a professional manner?
  2. Side Two – Ethical:  Does the topic put anyone in a situation to have to consider their moral compass?
  3. Side Three – Factual:  Is the question completely true or is seeking an answer or addressing a subject that is truthful?

So, how does it work?  If the statement or question is professional and ethical, it is factual.  If it is factual and ethical, it is professional.  If it is professional and factual, it is ethical.  If it meets this model, ASK the question or make the statement.

What is the opposite of this?  Let me give you some examples:

  1. Tip toeing around issues.
  2. Hiding the truth.
  3. Not getting all the facts.
  4. Losing the sale.
  5. Losing confidence of your customer.
  6. Not capturing the impulse they had when they said “come see me”.
  7. The customer can’t wait for you to leave because they are bored in your presentation.

So let’s address point #7.  Based upon what I have outlined here in the Say It Triangle, would I ask the question “Sir, you don’t seem interested today thus it tells me that I have not captured what you are interested in.  Why did first want to meet with me?”  Would I say this?  YES.  Why, because the sale is not going anywhere and last I looked, zero times anything is zero.  Now, if it was a current client, I may change a word or two but the reality is, it would be no less than “We have been servicing you for a long time and to ensure I always provide you with the best solutions, I felt it was best for me to come in and show you how I can improve your work place and my solution to it.  Have you found any part of this upgrade proposal of interest?”  Failure to means that at some point, a competitor will come in and get their attention that you failed to.

You may say “I don’t want to be pushy or aggressive?”  Being truthful, factual and ethical is not being pushy or aggressive.  It is clarity, thorough, complete, decisive, etc.  Last I looked, sales often isn’t comfortable.  If you are comfortable in sales, you likely are not pushing yourself or your customers and your results reflect that.   The previous sentence is an exact example of the Say It Triangle:  It is factual – it is ethical – so those of you questioning whether or not it is professional, take note.  By failing to to either push yourself or your customers, you likely do not create value or urgency around you or your product.  And failure to create measured value or urgency, where the customer says “I want to move ahead today” means no sales.

In selling markets, to be specific, a lack of creating value means the locations say “I will stick with vending” or “I will stick with my current provider – they have done a good job”.  Vending, I stress, is not a bad business or solution….in locations that dictates vending should be the solution.  But don’t let that be pre-determined. And certainly don’t let the location say “we should only do vending”.   If there is interest, it can be a great location when presented the right way.  And the right way often includes coming in and asking tough questions to elicit the true needs of the organization so you create value around your product providing solutions to those needs.

So, ask yourself, in the last few presentations, have you created value or urgency for your market solution? Your company?  Your SELF?  If not, meaning you are not having success in selling markets, I would suggest  you look long and hard at your presentation skills and ask yourself “am I saying what needs to be said or asking what needs to be asked?”.

Make it a great day and create success at every opportunity.

Patrick

The Reality: Credit Card Processing, Markets & Systems

In the last week, I talked with a few Canadian operators who described to me phone calls each of them received from one of our competitors.  The summation of the call is that our competitor tried to scare the heck out of them about credit card processing and they are the ONLY certified processor and failure to work with them means that they are putting their company at risk.  REALLY?

Here is the reality: 32M has an insurance policy, as I am sure our competition does also, that protects them in the event of compromise of our system.  To get this, we had to submit semantics on how our system is built, protected, redundancy, etc., all the fancy terms you hear about technology today.  And guess what?  We passed.

We have gone through PCI audits.  In fact, 32M will be rolling out PCI-DSS certification this quarter.  This certification not only matches what this competitor claims to be the end all in this industry, but according to our QSA, another fancy term for a credit card processing compliance firm, our level of certification will exceed what they have.  But rest assured, I am not going to spend all of my time pounding you as consumers in to the ground that this is the end-all to measure systems by.  Why?

Prior to 32M earning the PCI-DSS certification, we long ago had all of our systems inspected by government agencies far higher than a QSA. We have been in compliance with them and with PCI …. THE ENTIRE TIME.  We work in an industry that houses the people in society who have committed crimes.  Some of them, horrific crimes.  Our systems, company, buildings, processes and people have gone through inspections that far exceed what our QSA has done and for over 13 years we have been given the green light to be in these environments.  We have certifications far beyond what any of our competitors have.  We take PCI, compliance, security, etc., name every term, as serious as a hole in your head.  It is our reputation at stake and NONE of it is taken lightly.  So yes, I take offense when someone tries to say “we are not certified”.  That considered, I bet I am not the only one that thinks this way.  So…..read on:

I have full confidence that our competitors are running systems that are secure, just like ours.  They wouldn’t be in business and would not be in the thousands of locations the micro market system providers are, IF THEY WERE NOT.  That includes credit card processing.  PCI standards only require that 32M, not my jail business included, just 32M alone, have a certification that is far less than what we have.  We have had it and once the PCI-DSS is issued, we will far exceed what we are required to.

That considered, I bet Jim Britton has his system locked down tighter than Fort Knox.  Avanti didn’t grow by accident.  And to be clear, Avanti is not the competitor making the calls to operators using the scare tactics.  That said, Avanti didn’t become the biggest provider just by pure luck.   I can’t say I know Jim Britton personally but in my brief interaction with him at various meetings, he has built a rock solid business based upon his passion for markets, excellence, service and more.  He is a dominant player in just his stand-alone, highly successful vending/market business in the Pacific NW.  Avanti is strong.  We respect success and Mr. Britton defines it.  And yes, I like to try and go after what I see as our system strengths versus his … have you been watching TV lately and watched the Sprint commercials?  Well, we go after our competition also on the merits of our system and the feedback we have received from operators.  That’s what Sprint has done with their “Cut Your Bill in Half” campaign and what we will do as part of building our business.  But all this considered, I am confident that Avanti and the other competitors out there also have the same PCI certifications that they are required to.

So here it is…32M will have the PCI-DSS certification and we will be processing debit in Canada.  Albeit later than I hoped, it is the process that is required to do it so be ready now to start looking at markets and what they can do for you and let’s get beyond the smoke screens.  In summation:

  1. Markets do work and they work well, VERY well.
  2. When you merchandise a market well, launch it in a dynamic fashion, micro manage your cost of goods sold, rotate inventory in and out, and bring in the products that they are leaving the store to go buy today, you can be wildly successful at markets.
  3. If you want to put vending machines products on a wall and call it a market, than stick with vending.  But know that you will need to work diligently to maintain the accounts that vending is suited for because in time, markets will dominate the ones that are not.
  4. If you are not polished on selling technology, than ask your system provider for help or hire someone, whether full time or on contract, to sell them.  Why?  See #1.
  5. And learn what locations are right and not.  And know that even if the location says “no” today, that doesn’t mean they will say “no” two months from now.  If it is a good location, it will be a good location when the decision maker is ready to say “yes”.

And as far systems, our rocks.  We know it does.  But each system has its’ features.  We think ours are better and more advanced.  But you may find another system better suited.  If so, please keep us in mind as time progresses to consider us.  Why?  This market is only at the forefront.  If you think markets are the talk now, give it 5 years.  How about 10 years?  Don’t think you are in neck deep with an operator when you factor in the growth you will have in markets the next 5-10 years.

We look forward to talking with you at the earliest opportunity.  Call us.  Stop and see us at your next trade show. But until then, don’t be scared in to making a decision on a provider.  Create some success today at every opportunity … because failure to means a day wasted.

Patrick