Why Micromarket Integration is Essential to your Vending Management System

Why Micromarket Integration is Essential to your Vending Management System

Over the last five years, micromarkets have been the ‘talk of the town’ in the vending industry, and here at SB Software we have been excited about their potential right from their very first introduction. Micromarkets have been billed as ‘the next big thing’ in our sector for some time now. But today that view goes beyond an opinion, it is fact-based insight. And the post-covid economy/environment will both accelerate the speed and increase the scale of implementations ahead.

 

We foresaw the challenges that vending operators would encounter, as micromarkets were extending their footprint across the UK. As we monitored their growth within the industry, we were planning how best to assist operators from within Vendmanager, our vending management system. That is why we are excited to announce that we will be fully integrated with the leading providers in line with the NAMA VDI standard, early next year (2022).

 

But before exploring why micromarket integration is essential to your business, some may even be asking, what are micromarkets?

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Micromarket

What Are Micromarkets?

You can think of them as self-serve, unstaffed, convenience stores providing fresh food, snacks, and cold drinks, up to 24/7 (if appropriate). Micromarkets use open rack displays, fridges and a self-service kiosk where you can pay cashless or via an app. Micromarkets allow vending operators to dramatically increase their product range and the types of product lines available. There are almost no restrictions on product lines, as micromarkets are limited only by the physical space available. Vending operators will no longer need to consider whether a product can fit in different spiral sizes on varying machine types, each with limited capacity.

 

Micromarkets are typically located in medium to large organisations, to replace traditional staffed canteens, and complement (or replace) the vending machine offering. Micromarkets are viewed as a way of engaging employees more than a manned canteen or stand-alone vending machines with the advantage that the employee no longer needs to travel off-site to find the different types of products and snacks they prefer.

 

In summary, micromarkets are a fantastic complement to work alongside your vending machine offering.

 

But managing micromarkets brings a new and different set of challenges to your business. The micromarket integration developed for our vending management system will increase efficiency, dramatically reduce your admin and replenishment time, and is directly available within our award-winning software.

What are the Key Features and Benefits of Micromarket Integration?

1. Reduce Admin Time

For vending operators, micromarkets provide challenges different to managing traditional vending machines. Without integration, you will need to manage your micromarkets using the data and reporting available within the micromarket provider’s system. Each micromarket’s stock requirement will need to be manually created in our vending management system, picked in the warehouse and dispatched to the operator. The operator will then need to re-stock the micromarket using the kiosk or a separate app and you will have to manually transfer the stock out of our system for each operator, and each micromarket.

 

With our integration, all of the manual processes are simplified or eliminated. Micromarkets are set up within our management system with a unique setup compared to a traditional vending machine. Product management, stock levels, restock levels, product grouping, product sales and replenishment – all of these are managed within Vendmanager and VMMobile. As brands and prices are updated within Vendmanager they are pushed to your micromarket’s kiosk, allowing you to control products and prices remotely, without accessing two systems and without double keying (risking inconsistencies).

 

This means you spend less time on administrative tasks, gain greater clarity of your micromarket’s activity and unlock the speed and efficiency achievable from Vendmanager and VMMobile.

2. Improve Efficiency with Greater Clarity

Micromarkets are replenished using our mobile app in a way familiar to replenishing a traditional vending machine. All transactions from each micromarket are transferred seamlessly into our vending management system. Micromarkets are replenished using bulk issues, prepacking, or both, and VMMobile is automatically populated with the fill figures allowing operators to replenish micromarkets quicker than ever possible before.

 

In addition to Capacity and Par levels, micromarket brands can be set with re-stock levels, ensuring that an operator only replenishes the selections that actually need replenishment. You can even set specific brands to pre-pack whilst other brands are replenished via bulk issues. This empowers you (for example) to pre-pack chilled food more efficiently and reduce the time between fresh food entering your premises and being put on sale via your micromarkets.

 

Although your operator will be able to accelerate micromarket replenishment, you can still rest easy knowing that you have complete clarity of all the detail from each visit, such as task time and stock replenished. You can even schedule a requirement for an operator to take up to 4 photos (stored and accessed within Vendmanager) of the micromarket at the end of a task. This ensures that the micromarket is left well-stocked and presentable – exactly as it is should be, exactly as the site and the end-users deserve.

3. Keep your Stock in Check

No micromarket is the same. This is why all transactions from each micromarket are transferred seamlessly into our vending management system, including purchases made using discounts and meal deals. This ensures that you have up-to-date stock levels for each micromarket, across your whole estate.

 

Micromarkets are replenished using VMMobile, and operators have the option to fill and adjust final levels – all within our app, reducing the need for an additional mobile application. In addition, our standard replenishment, waste, and stock take tasks are all available and can be scheduled automatically within Route Manager and Visit Manager. This helps your operators to manage the (hopefully small) wastage of out-of-date products, identify shrinkage and keep the micromarket’s stock accurate, at all times.

4. Enable Robust Invoicing and Revenue Reports 

All the leading providers work to the NAMA VDI integration standard which means that whether you are using one supplier, or more, they will all work with Vendmanager in the same way. This allows you to make use of our efficient and robust invoicing platform with absolute confidence to charge your customers as required, whether weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.

 

The addition of invoicing your customers within Vendmanager enables us to use all of the data on revenue, costs and profit within our expansive reporting suite. You will be able to drill down into the data and look at low vs high selling product lines per micromarket, per site, area and region – all within a couple of clicks. If you especially value a particular report, why not use our vending management system to automatically email you the report at a specified frequency?

5. Manage your Micromarket and Vending Machines All in One Place

From micromarkets to available brands, your requirement to use your micromarket provider’s portal and their app will reduce dramatically. All product lines will need to be set up with their brand information within our vending management system. If a brand is a micromarket specific product, you can apply a unique micromarket grouping which is used within the micromarket’s planogram and reporting.

 

Combining the new categories with a current feature of Vendmanager (Brand Schemes), you will be able to tailor and filter the products that are available within a specific micromarket, or across micromarkets in general. If a specific product is only required for micromarkets, the brand can be set up accordingly and will not be available within vending and/or wholesale. If a customer has a requirement for ‘no brands containing nuts’ to be sold through the micromarket you will be able to apply a Brand Scheme to include or exclude certain brands from being chosen, in a way similar to using Brand Schemes for a vending machine.

 

This gives you complete control and the confidence that you will always be able to support your client’s needs: our vending management system is here to support you, no matter what requirements they may have.

6. Apply your Vendmanager Benefits to your Micromarkets

Micromarket integration isn’t just about the benefits that are unique to the integration. Far from it. It also extends to the huge range of features and benefits across our vending management system that you can now apply to your micromarkets. Just pick as many as you want, from a list that includes:

  • making route management easy to use
  • effective delivery of servicing and engineering
  • reliable and efficient invoicing
  • dashboards delivering meaningful data
  • a powerful reporting suite
  • questionnaires, custom fields, and so much more.

 

Check out our blog post on 10 Key Features Your Vending Management System Should Deliver for You to see even more benefits that you could unlock with micromarket integration.

Do You Want to Know More?

We Love New Integrations.

And our customers love the impact of new features and integrations on their business even more. If you would like to hear more about the benefits of micromarket integration or find out more, please get in touch.