Improve Your Micro Market Layout

August 10, 2016

Two important aspects of retail include front-facing product and performing resets regularly. Without facing products in visible, neat rows, customers won’t buy them. Resetting the environment –reorganizing and installing shelves and coolers – keeps the location fresh, allows for better visual merchandising and encourages browsing by the consumer. The best way to reset is to understand your customers' preferences and behavior while they are shopping. But how can you do that when micro markets are so new and there are no major research firms collecting consumer data? If you have a micro market security camera, you have all the market research you need. Watch a few videos and take note of how consumers move through your micro markets. Where do they go without thinking? Where do they ponder the longest? Expand your view to the coolers and shelves. What looks nice, full and properly faced? What looks empty, picked over and in need of service?

Beverages are a quick pick
People tend to know what beverage they are going to buy before they enter the micro market. The beverage cooler is one of the places consumers go directly. Therefore, it’s a great idea to move the beverage cooler away from the kiosk so the consumer needs to move past eye-catching snacks and promotional danglers to pay. This can increase the likelihood of an impulse buy, either then or later in the day, after the consumer has had time to think about how good that treat would taste. The food cooler, on the other hand, can be a bottleneck point and clog up the micro market. You have to think about the flow of buyers in your micro market when placing a food cooler, not just about where there is an appropriate wall outlet. People stand outside a food cooler to consider their choices, for over a minute. There’s likely going to be a line at the food cooler, so ensure the area works for this. Also, don’t forget to place other items around the food cooler, such as snacks and breath fresheners. While customers wait, they may decide to purchase one of these other items as well.

Consider food cooler add-ons
Successful operators also merchandise inside the food coolers. After the micro market driver is there, the micro market coolers looked stocked and appealing. But what happens post lunch rush, or after that one customer who checks every sandwich to see if the one behind it has a different expiration date? At that point, the food cooler in your micro market looks like the driver just threw food in and didn’t take the time or energy to properly service the location. You might get complaints. It’s time to invest in some shelving additions. Look at food retailers for inspiration or do an online search. Some examples are racks made up of several little triangles that elevate the back rows of food, making them always visible to the consumer. Try devices that push all the food forward with a false back, eliminating the space in the dark recesses of the food cooler. Or consider a different presentation, such as a pyramid of food. This design encourages a consumer to grab the top item instead of looking through all the items.

Opt for less that looks like more
If the micro market is looking bare, while it still has dozens of SKUs in it, there might be too many shelves and coolers. Can you condense your best sellers into a few smaller, more sophisticated looking racks that will stay full-looking for an extended period of time? Or try switching to a narrower beverage cooler. Place rows of non food items in the food cooler to maximize variety and space. Adding items to the food cooler works especially well for a location where the food purchases were less than anticipated. It might be a couple rows of healthy juices, snack spreads, or appealing bars. This allows the food cooler to look filled with variety, while preventing the operator from having to dispose of extra food that didn’t sell before the expiration date. Think about less even when you are expanding the products in your micro market as well. There is only so much the consumer will buy, so expand your offering slowly, say by 30 percent during a reset if you are going bigger. Expand currently successful brands with brand extensions and other flavors. Add nonperishable items and seasonal items that can increase impulse purchases.

Organize by day part or need
Consider your consumers' buying habits, and then planogram your micro market accordingly. Consider putting breakfast items on top, lunch items in the middle, energizing snacks next, and so on – organizing a cooler as someone organizes their day. Other operators take the items consumers know and look for and place those at the top and bottom, saving the space at eye level for new items to tempt the consumer.

Condition your customer to look for the special promotional items in the same place, preferably by the kiosk. Try using a hanging basket that always has a new treat or beverage in it on special. Fairly soon, everyone waiting in line will look in the basket to see if they want to try the new item. It has the added advantage of being a visual reminder that someone was in the micro market and is changing the products on a regular basis – another perceived benefit.

It’s never a waste of money to reset a micro market, create a better flow, and make it look more appealing to your customers. Use the video you have to learn how your customer think, and then create a space that will be inviting and full of the items they want to purchase.