Even when sales in the micro market are strong, operators should never stop evaluating product placement.
Brad Bachtelle, president of Bachtelle and Associates, a national consulting and research firm for the foodservice industry, said in a June 2014 VendingMarketWatch.com article that operators can increase their sales through carefully determining the best use for their micro market space and adjusting planograms accordingly.
With the additional space and flexibility a micro market offers compared to that of a vending machine comes the responsibility to take advantage of those factors to increase sales. Making logical changes based on sales data can help you allocate the appropriate amount of space for the products you sell and entice consumers with incredible new looks for the retail setting.
Improving your planograms, in which you can lay out a visualization of where to put your products, is where to start implementing those changes. Here are three tips for improving your micro markets with planograms:
1. Make logical choices on where to put items.
While operators are still determining how best to use micro markets, these points-of-sale ultimately are just another retail channel that plays by similar “guidelines” of sales as other modes of retail. If consumers find what they’re looking for easily, they’ll be happy. Paying attention to what consumers are looking for and placing those items effectively is key.
John Ward of Serenity Market said his company found that certain items pair well together and that creating a logical layout that customers can easily navigate as they select and purchase items is handy. They should also be able to find their favorite items in a consistent location, he added.
“If all of the sudden you’re putting the Snickers in a different area, you might have a dissatisfied customer for a moment,” Ward said.
Bachtelle wrote in his article that micro market operators who group similar products together make it simpler for consumers to see where they should go within the market to satisfy their taste buds, whether they’re looking for sweet treats, such as OREO cookies, or healthier options like Enjoy Life Foods® Breakfast Ovals.
2. Use your sales reports and industry trends measurements to determine the quantity and variety of products to purchase for your micro markets.
In order to dedicate your space appropriately, you can glean information from your sales reports to identify the best-selling products at your locations. Bachtelle recommended in his article that micro market operators calculate which product categories are doing best in their respective appropriate areas at the sales locations.
After that, determine if the amount of space the products occupy on their respective shelves in your micro markets is appropriate. Should there be additional space or more items for this category (perhaps the product category is selling extremely well)? Should there be less space (not doing so hot this year at this type of business)?
You can also reference industry reports such as the annual State of the Industry Report Automatic Merchandiser produces to get a better sense of the overall success of certain categories of micro market products in the convenience services industry at large.
3. Partner well with your route drivers.
Creating a planogram is only one step of the process of having route drivers complete their runs to various micro market locations. The deliverers of the products need to be able to follow the planograms, so they need to be straightforward, easily readable and accessible.
Gimme, a technology company that helps unattended retail operators manage their routes, made AutoDrive publicly available in January 2019. With the help of the camera on an iOS device, this software can immediately confirm for the route driver that he or she has accurately filled micro markets according to the micro market operator’s planograms.
With the time technology like this saves for route drivers, they have more time for other aspects of your company’s business – like sprucing up the micro market to make it look stellar and engaging more in customer service. Having great planograms that are based on educated decisions and ensuring route drivers can carry them out effectively will ease your route to success in micro markets.