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Top 5 Micro Market Pain Points And Solutions


Introducing a micro market doesn't come without its challenges. However, planning in advance and anticipating obstacles will increase the likelihood for success. By addressing these challenges head on, operators can take advantage of the micro market's consistent upswing that appears to have a vibrant future full of opportunity ahead. Several operators weighed in on their top five pain points and their solutions:

Pain point: Accountability at multiple levels

Micro markets present a greater need to monitor and reconcile accounts, routes, kiosks and/or vending as close to real time as possible. While this may seem daunting at first glance, understanding what resources are required to maintain accountability alleviates potential downfalls down the road.

Solution:

On the theft level, encourage the client's assistance to help fix accountability issues at the location level, provided there is specific and documented evidence of location and/or customer theft. In order to maintain accountability at multiple levels, allocate and designate additional labor to stay on top of the task.

Pain point: Necessary change in company culture

Micro markets require a significant shift in company culture of route employees and salespeople. Employees must transition from a 100 percent vending mindset to view the micro market service as a convenience store alternative as much as a vending alternative.

Solution:

Constant training and new product awareness keeps all team members thinking in broader terms. Encourage employees to step outside the vending product constraints to see what grocery, convenience and other food outlets offer.

Pain point: Maximizing sales opportunities

Micro markets present an array of additional sales opportunities, but knowing how to capitalize on each and every one of them may prove difficult especially if new to the segment.

Solution:

Establish a management focus to provide a wide array of products to satisfy demographic differences between locations and markets to meet customers' immediate demand in each locale. For example, tailor a specific plan-o-gram for each location and monitor product movement in order to gain the greatest insight into possible sales objectives. While some demographics may tend to gravitate towards healthier products, others may prefer more traditional, pre-packaged snacks. Understanding these differing demands is key to appealing to the greatest number of consumers.

Pain point: Managing an increased number of SKUs

As many operators begin to increase the number of micro market locations that they operate, they may realize that in order to run smoothly and effectively, there is a need to analyze reports and manage a vastly larger inventory of products.

Solution:

For employees to successfully handle the steep learning curve, investment in education and training is imperative. Educate them on which reports are important, when to make changes to the markets, and how to better manage a large inventory. In addition to this investment in education and training, increasing staff sizes may also prove to be useful during this period of increased workload.

Pain point: Maintaining fresh food supply

Maintaining the appropriate levels of fresh food during sales spikes and valleys can prove difficult, especially in market locations in rural areas.

Solution:

By modifying current route driver procedures, drivers can visually observe what products are consistently running low, where there is a need to invest more resources, and report consumption trends in order to adjust inventory levels in a more timely fashion to avoid major lows in inventory. Training route drivers to take note of these characteristics will help maintain fresh food levels to avoid costly drops in inventory. Additionally, offering items such as pre-packaged snacks that have a longer shelf life to supplement the fresh foods that tends to expire more quickly is an another way to maintain inventory.



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