Traditional closed vending has paved the way for the innovation of micro markets to penetrate the market for 10 years. This rapidly-growing industry is making its mark by infiltrating office buildings, semi-public spaces, and public venues. These unattended, self-serve markets with cameras and payment kiosks are much more popular than standalone vending machines, revolutionizing the concept of both convenience and variety. Safety and satisfaction go hand-in-hand, especially in these health-conscious times. For our customers operating and maintaining a micro market as well as those who are considering an upgrade from vending, we make it easy to be a continual source of safe, healthy food items for your customers.
Vending Machines vs. Micro Markets, What’s the Difference?
Micro markets and vending machines both serve the same purpose—meet the needs of a building’s employees, clients, visitors, or guests by taking care of some of their most basic needs. Eating and drinking! While vending machines have quenched the literal hunger and thirst of people for decades, micro markets simply are designed to provide so much more than classic snacks and beverages that vending was made famous for.
Micro markets act as an oasis and a destination within any building for which it makes sense. They can be stocked with hundreds of items. The variety knows no end. From healthy snacks to grab-and-go protein for breakfast, fresh and appealing lunch and dinner options, this variety allows your employees or guests to grab an easy meal or satisfying snack on the double. Some micro market kiosks are miniature stores of sundries, stocked with everyday necessities like over-the-counter meds, health and beauty items, and other essentials that people seem to always need.
Reasons Why You Should Upgrade
Deciding whether to upgrade your vending machines to micro markets depends on several factors, including your business goals, the needs of your customers, available space, and budget. Here are some considerations to help you make an informed decision.
Advantages of Upgrading to Micro Markets
Diverse Product Selection: Micro markets offer a wider range of products, including fresh foods, healthy snacks, and beverages. This can attract a broader customer base with varying preferences.
Enhanced Customer Experience: Micro markets provide a more interactive and personalized shopping experience with self-checkout kiosks and touchscreens. This can improve customer satisfaction.
Increased Revenue Potential: With a larger product selection and potentially higher prices for premium items, micro markets may generate more revenue compared to traditional vending machines.
Customization: Micro markets can be customized to suit the preferences of your target audience. You can curate products that resonate with your customers.
Health and Wellness Trends: Micro markets often emphasize healthier food options, which align with the growing demand for wellness-focused products.
Technology Integration: Micro markets leverage technology for payment processing, inventory management, and data analytics, providing better operational efficiency.
Considerations Before Upgrading:
Cost & Location: The initial investment in setting up a micro market is typically higher than adding or upgrading vending machines. Consider your budget and potential return on investment. Assess whether your current location and customer base would benefit from the expanded offerings and interactive experience of a micro market. Micro markets require more space than vending machines. Ensure you have adequate space for the market setup, including shelving, coolers, and self-checkout kiosks.
Customer Demand: Understand your customers' preferences. If they seek more variety, healthier options, and a self-service shopping experience, a micro market might be a good fit. Research if micro markets are already present in your area. Consider how you can differentiate your offering and provide unique value. Check local regulations and permits required for installing and operating micro markets in your area.
Onboarding: Plan how you'll introduce the concept of micro markets to your customers and educate them on how to use self-checkout kiosks and other features. Micro markets have more components, including technology, coolers, and kiosks. Ensure you have a plan for maintenance and technical support.
Reasons Why You Should Not
A company might choose to keep vending machines for several reasons, even when considering the option of upgrading to micro markets after exploring its endless benefits.
Here are some factors that could influence the decision to maintain vending machines...
Space and cost considerations: Vending machines require less space compared to micro markets. If the available space is limited or the layout of the location doesn't accommodate a larger setup, vending machines might be a more practical choice.Vending machines generally have a lower upfront investment and operational costs compared to setting up and managing a full micro market. This can be appealing for businesses with budget constraints.
Location dynamics: Depending on the location, vending machines might be more suitable due to factors like foot traffic patterns, the nature of the establishment, and customer preferences. Converting an existing vending machine setup to a micro market might involve significant retrofitting, whereas keeping vending machines can be a smoother transition.
Focused offerings: Vending machines can be strategically placed to offer specific items that are in high demand in that particular location. For example, if a specific snack or beverage is popular among customers, vending machines can cater to that demand. Vending machines are generally simpler to maintain than micro markets, especially if they offer a limited variety of products. This can be beneficial for businesses with minimal resources for upkeep.
Depending on the demographic of the location, vending machines might better align with the preferences and behaviors of the target audience. Vending machines are a well-established concept that customers are familiar with. If a business has a successful vending machine setup and loyal customers, there might be little incentive to make a major transition to micro markets. In temporary or seasonal setups, such as events, conferences, or short-term locations, vending machines might be more convenient and practical to install.
Bernick’s Can Help You Decide
Upgrading to micro markets can be a strategic move to provide enhanced customer experiences and potentially increase revenue. However, it's important to thoroughly assess your specific situation, including space availability, customer preferences, budget, and long-term goals, before making a decision. If you believe that the benefits align with your business objectives and the needs of your customers, transitioning to micro markets could be a valuable investment. Ultimately, the decision to keep vending machines or explore micro markets depends on the specific needs, goals, and circumstances of the business.
Careful consideration of factors such as available space, budget, customer preferences, and the desired level of service will help determine the best option for each individual situation.
Thinking of supplementing your vending with micro markets? You’re definitely not alone. Many businesses choose to maintain a combination of both vending machines and micro markets. Vending machines can serve as supplementary options for quick, on-the-go purchases, while micro markets provide a more extensive selection.
So–what’s it going to be? Let us know!