By Automatic Merchandiser
Consumers like value and promotions. The ability to more easily offer special pricing, unique products, combination deals and more are several reasons why micro markets are such a fast-growing segment within the industry. Here are five tips to inspire you to do more with promotions and make it easy.
1. Choose a goal
It's important to have a specific goal in mind when deciding on a promotion. Do you want to increase sales around a new product, perhaps a local favorite having a anniversary or an item that is only available during a certain season? That will require special planning to source the local or seasonal item and deal with any potential spoilage issues.
If your goal is to drive more people to use the market account, then all promotional efforts should push consumers to the account, rather than a specific product. Or perhaps your aim is to excite an existing location to generate more sales or encourage market loyalty in a competitive area. Support these goals with contests, local tastings and loyalty program rewards.
2. Look for ways to promote and keep margins
Some operators look at promotions as negative because they believe it has to be money out of their own pocket. However, manufacturers, brokers and suppliers all have a marketing budget and may consider offering a discount on a new or trial product for detailed purchasing information from the micro market. Agree to share the purchasing data of those products and make them your partner. This also works with local products. Perhaps there's a small business that would come and do a tasting of cupcakes or fresh salads, to help drive sales, and promo their local business. Consumers love to hear the story of how someone got into business. It can be beneficial for both the small business owner and micro market provider.
If the goal was to incentive consumers to use micro market accounts, tally the reduction in cashless payment transaction fees, look at the savings as part of your marketing budget. Use a portion of that savings to add or match what employees put in their accounts. This can reward use of the market and loyalty. Consider the money reallocated to the marketing budget and use it for multiple promotions.
3. Set up rules/guidelines and prepare
Whatever specific goal and promotion you are planning, consider rules. Who will be eligible? Will any of the locations or consumers take issue with a contest you’re running? How will you handle a situation where a contest winner is no longer employed by the micro market company? Will a promotion for new customers alienate existing ones?
Ultimately, it pays to be prepared, so spend some time defining the rules and walking through some possible "what-if" scenarios.
4. Advertise the event
Once you come up with your winning promotion, it's time to share it. Ensure everyone knows it's going on. Consider digital ads that play on the micro market kiosk. Hang large posters or vinyl signage on the walls and place flyers or table toppers on each table. It can be effective to even just have shelf hangers and cooler clings. Take a look at what grocery stores do to drive attention to sales and adjust it to your needs. Plus, many manufacturers and suppliers have marketing materials they offer to retail and much of it will work in your micro markets, so be sure to ask.
5. Measure its effectiveness
With any initiative, it's important to measure its effectiveness. First, you must look at the metrics before you begin the promotion. This gives you a benchmark to measure the success of the event or special. Make sure to keep track of the metrics throughout the entire promotion. Keep recording post-promotion as well to see if the sales lift or payment change is sustained. Compare the metrics to your goal and see if the promotion was effective and should be repeated at a different market or in a slightly different way. And finally, don't forget to share the data with the partners who helped with special pricing, products or tastings. That will keep your relationship strong and encourage them to work with you on future promotions.