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Designing Your Microstore

Here are 7 tips to merchandising your FoodSpot Unattended Microstore.
stainless steel smart fridge with clear glass door
A newly merchandised fridge at a hospital in Scranton, PA.

Sushi fridge designed to sell out every 24 hoursOne of my favorite parts of my job is witnessing a new client stock their FoodSpot microstore for the first time. It’s as if the fridge suddenly bursts into life! Each of our microstores is one of a kind because the merchandising options are endless.

Fresh food microstores are unlike vending with fresh food expirations and unlike foodservice with 24/7 operations. As such, microstore merchandising without an employee present requires a different approach. Similar to grocery store shelves, every inch is valuable curated space. A thoughtful design will yield a far better brand experience and sales.

I’ve often been asked to help with the planogram, a strategy for integrating the fresh food products with the dimensions of a smart vending fridge for product placement. Here are a few things to consider when developing your planogram for excellent visual merchandising:

  1. Visualizing shelf space: Using masking tape, mark out the dimensions of a shelf on a table top. Start placing your food items within the measured area. Do this for all five shelves to gain an understanding of product mix and placement on each shelf, i.e., sandwiches & salads, breakfast items, microwaveable meals, snacks, drinks, fresh food vs. shelf stable. As you operate, your Dashboard’s Sales data will give you a good understanding of your strongest product mixes.
  2. Offer a product mix that’s relevant 24/7: Know the demographics of your customer base in that building and consider what they might desire at different meal times. Group these themes together per shelf, along with complimentary beverage/snack selections. Consider age range and whether or not additional signage could help facilitate a pleasant purchasing experience.
  3. Clustering: Once you have your themes, consider clustering products and offering multiple versions. For example, different fillings for croissant sandwiches. Don’t forget to offer vegetarian/vegan options.
  4. Feed the ritual: Frequency drives sales, talk to customers and ask what they might buy everyday, i.e., an iced coffee, hard boiled eggs or maybe an energy drink.
  5. Set up a microwave adjacent to your microstore: Offer this convenience for customers who want something warm. One of our clients offers delicious fresh-made burritos and enchiladas and their customers love the ease-of-use.
  6. Ensure your microstore is placed in a high foot traffic location: Don’t tuck your smart vending machine away! Keep your microstore visible. It’s your brand’s hood ornament, not its glovebox.
  7. Fill it to the brim: Retail stores should always have very full shelves. Select a product mix that enables you to only sell out of fresh items with a short shelf life.

Need help planning for your microstore? We’d love to hear from you! Click here to contact us.

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