Micro markets can increase sales. However, to maximize revenues, it's important to consider the similarities that micro markets share with retail over vending machines. Bringing retail merchandising and display ideas to the micro market will win over customers and improve business.
Probably one of the most prominent areas in retail is the area near the checkout. It is a limited space, but can add dollars to every transaction. This is an ideal place for gums, mints and other add-on items the micro market customer may decide to buy for later. If you are running a special, such as pairing a breakfast item with a certain-size coffee, ensure the item is within easy reach of the self-checkout kiosk on a well-crafted display or rack. This helps sell the product, but is also a visual reminder of the promotion.
Consider your micro market zones
Most micro markets have four zones: a beverage area, a fresh food cooler, the snack and candy display, and finally the kiosk with the "impulse buy" items displayed. Most consumers already know what beverage they want before coming to the micro market, which means the beverage coolers should be placed farthest from the kiosk, usually first as the consumer walks into the micro market. After choosing a beverage, the micro market patron will then need to walk by food and snacks to checkout. This is the area in which you can catch their eye.
Place new items that the customer might want to try prominently at eye level. Avoid handwritten marketing messages in favor of more professional looking computer-generated signage and use wording that is short and easy to read. If possible, add appealing images that inspire a feeling in the consumer or make the product appear more desirable. Consider shelving that can be seen through, either clear or wire, but also ensure it has a high-end look. The most successful micro markets are those that look sophisticated, with the colors and design that match today's trendy retail outlets. Because there is no one there to regularly face shelves, it is also important to consider how well the racks and shelves will push product forward and keep the display looking neat.
Bring in more light
One of the most important aspects of merchandising is having adequate light. Don't rely solely on the fluorescents or ceiling fixtures where the micro market will be placed. Instead, add internal lighting to micro market displays that really highlight the products. Use vertical lighting along display sides or lighting beneath each shelf for best results. Opting for LEDs has a dual benefit of saving energy compared to incandescent bulbs and really makes snack packaging vivid and eye-catching.
Switch displays around
Your micro market zones and equipment will no doubt create an established path that consumers use to shop the micro market. If you planogram your displays as well, it can be enticing to set the layout and forget it. Successful merchandising, however, means it is important to refresh your display by changing things around. Using static shelves, operators can dedicate an area to the latest new products or brand extensions, regularly changing what appears in that display. There might be an option to use a few, free-standing baskets with a combination of items or a spinning rack with the most recent promotional selections as well -- both can be moved around the micro market to refresh the look. Doing any or all of these will be a benefit. There is a reason retail stores change their displays at least monthly. Take your cue from them to truly utilize merchandising in your micro market.
Micro markets offer more opportunity for sales than vending machines, but they aren't without effort. The ability to create merchandising schedules and programs means operators must dedicate time and resources to do so, in order for merchandising to be successful. To find out what works in the micro markets, it's important to keep sales records before, during and after each promotion and each major merchandising change. It reveals just what works, keeping your growth always headed upward.