A lot has changed in how we shop, work, and eat in the last few years, but one of the most noticeable changes has been the steady rise in what are known as “micro markets.”

Micro markets are open, flexible markets designed to supplement existing vending machine options but with a convenience-store feel, a lack of attendants, and a broader array of options, including fresh foods and drinks.

Although the concept of micro markets is relatively new, the technology behind them is well-established, enabling operators to utilize trusted tools to manage them effectively.

If your organization is considering tapping into these exciting new options or expanding into this industry, here are the essential technologies every micro market needs.

What are the key things to know about micro markets?

As their names suggest, micro markets are small, unattended retail stores that can be established in workplaces, office buildings, hospitals, schools, airports, and other locations with high foot traffic looking for convenient, diverse refreshment options.

The key difference between micro markets and traditional stores, stands, and kiosks is that micro markets rely on a system of honesty, in which buyers are expected to pay for their own purchases without the help of a store attendant. After picking out their items, consumers head to the self-service check-out and can choose from various payment options, including cashless payments, contactless payments, mobile payments, and gift cards.

Micro markets often are found in shared spaces of “closed” environments—such as coworking locations, multi-family residential complexes, and hotels—but they can also be found in airports and retail locations. Because of their operating model and the technology that enables them, micro markets often are open 24/7, allowing customers to get products when needed.

What are the 3 must-have technologies to enable a successful micro market?

For consumers looking for an on-the-go snack, drink, or even a meal, micro markets are an easy choice. However, this seamless, convenient experience is enabled by the right combination of tools and payment technology.

Here are three of the most important elements:

Self-Service Kiosks

Self-service kiosks offer benefits for both business operators and customers. For buyers, self-service kiosks allow them to scan their products, confirm their purchase, and choose from a variety of payment options. Customers can also have digital receipts sent to their phone or email. On the other side, operators can enable loyalty programs, suggestive selling, and secure payment handling, all without having an attendant onsite.

Vending Surveillance and Telemetry Solutions

Vending surveillance and shelf telemetry solutions help operators mitigate the risk of theft by monitoring customer movements within the store and tracking when items are removed from shelves, enabling them to safely run around the clock.

Estimates for shrinkage at micro markets range between 1-2 percent to 5 percent, so video surveillance paired with shelf monitoring tools can help to deter theft and prevent tampering with available products. These solutions can also help with store management, allowing owners to monitor store activity from afar and use shelf telemetry solutions to help to monitor product inventory or trigger alerts if cooling systems are having issues.

Integrated Payment and Transaction Technology System

Remote operations are a key feature of micro markets, so operators need to have robust transaction management systems to assist in monitoring store purchases, revenue, and costs in real-time. This is especially important if a business runs more than one micro market.

This data can be used to make inventory purchases, plan promotions, create loyalty rewards programs, or modify pricing and discounts based on market demand and product availability.

Stay ahead of the latest retail trends with Burroughs.

In today’s dynamic business environment, every edge a business owner can have in predicting future customer demand and preferences can turn into fuel for a thriving, sustainable business.

Whether it's staying on top of new business opportunities like micro markets, tapping into the power of restaurant robots, or ensuring your retail locations are utilizing the payment technology customers expect, the Burroughs team can help you stay in the loop about the technology changing the face of business.

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