Micromarkets vs. Smart Fridges

Micromarkets and smart fridges differ greatly in terms of security, product mix, and opportunity.
side-by-side graphic of a micromarket and smart fridge

Unattended food retail can be split into two categories: honor system and secure. Micromarkets are an honor-system solution, and smart fridges are a secure solution. In this post, I outline the differences between the two and suggest good applications for each

Honor-System: Micromarkets

Canteen micromarket

Canteen micromarket, courtesy of Canteen.

Micromarkets are self-checkout convenience stores typically found in closed communities, like office buildings. Businesses use micromarkets to bring convenience store nutrition to the office inexpensively.

Micromarkets are inexpensive to operate because they sell non-perishable snacks without a cashier, but they require a large footprint and lack the infrastructure to sell nutritious high-quality fresh food.

Unattended fresh food retail requires a high level of food safety. Micromarkets lack the technology for operators to remotely track real-time inventory and expiration dates on a per-item basis. In addition, because fresh food sells at a much higher price point, micromarket operators can’t afford to risk shrinkage when the honor-system checkout isn’t honored.

If you want to offer daytime, non-perishable snacks to a closed community, micromarkets are an excellent solution. However, for many corporations, a micromarket’s convenience store nutrition is not in alignment with the health and wellness initiatives of the organization.

Secure: Smart Fridges

CryoWerx smart fridge in Sweden

CryoWerx smart fridge in Sweden that unlocks with smartphone app.

In order to sell high-quality fresh food 24/7, you need a secure unattended retail solution, like a smart fridge.

Smart fridges unlock with the swipe of a payment method, allowing the consumer to inspect the products freely. When the consumer closes the door, the fridge locks, scans inventory, and automatically charges the consumer for the items they’ve taken. There are three main technologies that allow smart fridges to scan inventory: computer vision, weight sensing, and radio frequency identification (RFID). This article explains how these technologies work and outlines how to choose the best one for your business.

Smart fridges track inventory on a per-item basis, allowing operators to see individual expiration dates in real time from a remote dashboard. In this way, smart fridges are the optimal unattended retail solution for selling high-quality fresh food.

By allowing operators to sell nutritious, high-quality fresh food, smart fridges open the door to accessibility, choice, and better health outcomes in the communities they are placed in. Because of their small footprint, smart fridges can be placed anywhere and relocated as business needs change.

Micromarkets vs smart fridges infographic

If you’re interested in opening a smart fridge, we’d love to hear from you! Feel free to reach out at hello@launchfoodspot.com.

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