Should You Dress Up Your Micro Market?

June 11, 2018

Micro markets accept and promote technology, and the idea behind dressing up a micro market is to create a new, better experience for the end user. Consider when and in what circumstances dressing up a micro market is beneficial. Before making a decision, determine the needs of the location, the benefit of customization and your return on investment (ROI).

Does it work?

Dressing up a micro market can be beneficial, depending on the location. Upgrading a micro market can be as simple as adding LED lights and installing nicer racks. It can also mean a complete re-do with tables and chairs, new coolers and graphics. Take into consideration that some locations do not have the right audience. Understanding the end user's needs is important in deciding to place an upscale micro market. For example, some manufacturing locations, such that present strenuous labor, would not be appropriate to redesign with a high-end market, simply because it wouldn't accommodate the end user. On the other hand, it would be very beneficial to dress up a micro market at a technology company, which uses convenience services and amenities as a selling point against competition. In both situations, the micro market provides its employees with work benefits for retention, albeit in different ways.

Consult with the customer about if they would like to be a part of the design decisions before beginning any plans for a re-design. It could turn out that through their involvement, they may pick up part of the cost. Also consider the location's needs when deciding what the best fixtures are; where would it be wisest to spend more money? On shelving and displays, or maybe tables and chairs? It’s all a balancing act. In the end, the most important thing is to please the customers and consumers at the facility.

What is an upgrade?

The parameters of micro markets are different than traditional vending or pantry service. Micro markets are flexible, meaning there is no "set" way it should be dressed up. The idea is to create a new, customized experience in the micro market. Customization is key. The point of dressing up the micro market is because you want to capture a new audience and bring current customers back more often. The longer a consumer spends [in the micro market] the more likely they are to spend money.

Newer operators can feel out of their element when dressing up a micro market. The first time can be a bit overwhelming with so much to consider. This is an important time to lean on manufacturers, the micro market provider and kiosk providers. Any one of these can be a resource for an operator to answer the difficult questions such as "when will I get the money back that I've put into this?" The more micro markets an operator redesigns or dresses up, the more comfortable it will become.

Who pays for the micro market design?

In some cases, the location may pay for part or all of a micro market design. These locations tend to be larger corporations or companies that bring in more revenue. Typically, though, operators pay for the upgrade. One of the reasons for this is because the operator often suggests it. Dressing up the micro market at a location will draw more consumers to it, therefore generating more sales. There's also competition from other operators to offer an upgraded micro market, so investing in dressing up a micro market for your customer is advantageous in this situation so as not to lose the client. As an operator, be willing to look at different options. For some operators, dressing up a micro market can double their sales. Customization is a key component in this effort. Still, it needs to be done on a case-by-case basis.

What's the big deal?

It is important to understand what the financial commitment will be before beginning a redesign on a micro market. Knowing and feeling comfortable with your ROI are important factors in the pre-stages of dressing up a micro market. Before upgrading a micro market, meet with your micro market provider, manufacturer, company, or kiosk provider and have them assist you with an ROI analysis. They have all the data and can tell you what the location does monetarily (relatively speaking). They can throw that data into an ROI calculator and help you get the answer to questions like, "are you comfortable getting your money back in six months? Two years?"

Having operators look at their markets is helpful for figuring out how much they should stick into a micro market upgrade, or on the flip side, how long it will take to get their money back. A meeting with the micro market provider can drill down to minute calculation setups. This is helpful for deciding an operator's risk factor. For example, if on average, the micro market brings in $5 per person per week, what would the projections be for the ROI? Before diving into the project, find out what it would be at $3, $4 per person, per week and compare those numbers. This will help you figure out if you can afford to take a higher risk or not.

Before deciding to dress up a micro market, make sure you know your audience. Talk with the client and get their point of view. Sit down or do a phone conference with your micro market provider and get an ROI analysis done on the micro market you're thinking of upgrading, so that you have all the facts on your investment.