Although the micro market concept isn’t really new, it’s quickly growing in popularity with over 10,000 micro markets in workplaces across the U.S. Research predicts that there will be 35,000 micro market locations by the year 2022 and they will generate $1.6 billion in revenue over the next 10 years. Micro markets are becoming a more lucrative investment opportunity for businesses because they provide additional benefits over the traditional vending machine without the space, staffing and inventory issues of a full convenience store.
So What is a Micro Market?
Micro markets can be simply thought of as a ‘convenience store at the office’. They can provide lunches, healthy snacks and beverages that employees can purchase. What makes them unique is that they utilize a self-service model – one that relies on an ‘honor system’. They are a hybrid form of vending, foodservice and convenience stores that provide an improved customer experience with increased product variety while lifting sales for the business by keeping labor costs down and boosting operational efficiency.
Why are Micro Markets a Better Option than Traditional Vending Machines?
Vending machines are very impersonal. Customers don’t have a chance to touch the product or read any of the nutritional info. In a time when healthy snacking is more on trend, these are important aspects to the buying experience.
Micro Market Benefits:
- Micro markets tend to attract 18 percent more visits per day with an average of 1.2 sales per day per visit, as compared with 0.7 sales in a vending area.
- The inventory management system is usually web-based, making evaluation much easier and ensuring up-to-date inventory.
- Components can be customized to fit different locations which is a huge selling point for locations with space limitations.
- It allows operators to focus on providing an enhanced customer experience with enticing layouts and products that will ultimately increase profits.
- There is also some pricing flexibility allowing operators to collect sales tax on items purchased unlike a traditional vending machine.
- The use of prepaid user accounts at micro markets represents a shift from the traditional vending model. Accounts are funded and money collected before goods are purchased which radically shifts the cash flow requirements of operators.
- Portions of these accounts can be funded by HR, Wellness, or other workplace programs with a mandate directed at healthy eating and increased productivity.
- An opportunity to focus on snacks that are attractive to the customer. Health conscious snacks are a trend, especially in the workplace and help to set micro markets apart from traditional vending machines.
Photo Credit: Imperial Vending