The vending market is riddled with constant change, and only those who are innovating are excelling. This is especially true when it comes to one of the newer vending sub-categories, micro markets. Micro markets are self-checkout mini markets that are now being used to replace traditional vending in offices around the globe. The micro-market is constantly growing and changing as the industry becomes more and more sophisticated, so what micro market trends are out there currently?
Here are some of the upcoming and innovative trends that are affecting micro-markets today, according to Vending Market Watch.
Customer loyalty programs. Retail today has evolved to a point where customer retention and loyalty determine who succeeds. This is no different from micro markets as the major players in the industry take advantage of apps and other types of loyalty programs. Vending Market Watch noted that these apps are “giving consumers more streamlined shopping experience, managing loyalty, receiving promotions, making purchases, and reviewing past purchases.”
Smaller locations. Typically, micro markets are designed and made specifically for use in break rooms of large enterprise companies. The nature of the micro market makes it difficult to operate efficiently in a smaller retail environment, and because of this, it never seemed to make sense financially to place micro markets outside of these large enterprise-level organizations. Jim Brinton, CEO of Avanti Markets, pointed out that despite these beliefs about where a micro-market can be effective, “operators are having to take a hard look and say, ‘Maybe those smaller locations actually make financial sense as well.'”
24/7 accessibility. For any type of vending operation, business never stops. Specifically, micro markets need to be able to operate on a 24/7 basis in order to maximize efficiency. This means that the connectivity of a micro market needs to be 24/7 as well in order to enable the functionality that micro markets depend on. For example, an inventory management system needs to be able to connect from the internet to the micro market to be able to get notifications when an item is out of stock or a machine is down. Having to send a tech in physically onsite costs time and money that could be saved.
Backend analytics. Back-end business analytics tied to the hardware are driving the whole micro market space. The collected data helps determine customer purchasing behavior and which food and snacks make the most sense to stock. This information is essential when stocking quick-spoil items, as it is critical to know which of these items will sell quickly and which will not. (MarketScale).
Cellular connectivity. Often the biggest culprit taking micro-markets out of commission is a loss of internet access. There are myriad ways in which connectivity can be lost, whether that be from a hardline, Wi-Fi, or cellular access. Hardlines are affected by environmental challenges. A storm or accident can bring down a landline, knocking out internet access for days or even weeks. Wi-Fi, especially when a location’s Wi-Fi, is subject to password changes, firewalls, and can often take weeks for your micro-market to be whitelisted by the local IT team. However, cellular connectivity is a whole other ball game. With maximum uptimes and sometimes paired with a fully managed solution, cellular connectivity is perfect for micro markets.
One thing is for sure, micro markets are only continuing to advance, and as they do, connectivity will continue to play a pivotal role in how they function and interact with other devices and systems. To learn more about OptConnect’s connectivity solutions for micro markets, please click here.