365 Retail Markets (365) is showing the vending industry how it’s done – at least MicroMarket style – at this year’s NAMA OneShow,SM April 25-27, 2012, in Las Vegas. In addition to a number of other innovations, the company is using the industry’s largest annual gathering to launch the latest version of its SmartHub.
“We’re thrilled to be back at this year’s OneShow,” said Joseph Hessling, 365’s CEO, who explained that the company has grown by 800 percent since last year’s NAMA show. 365 took Gold in NAMA’s 2012 Innovation Awards, winning for the second year in a row, for its SmartHub Gen II. The new 365 SmartHub completed development in early 2012 due, in part, to a seven-figure round of venture funding completed in December of 2011.
The company’s primary MicroMarket solution, known as the 365SmartShopSM , is capturing attention and winning business from large and small vending operators alike. “Among many other reasons, when customers replace existing vending operations with a 365SmartShop, they report a 50 percent increase in revenue and a 23 percent increase in profit within the first 90 days,” said 365 COO Matt Caston. The company reports that it is strategically aligned and finalizing deals with a number of the industry’s leading players, and will be announcing those deals very soon.
Smarter and Better Solutions
“We believe we have smarter and better solutions because we are the only MicroMarket solutions provider to engineer and develop technical hardware and software that is unique to our offering,” Hessling said.
With the release of 365’s SmartHub Gen II kiosks, operators will see more than 20 new technical enhancements. The new SmartHubs are smaller in design, mountable to countertops or walls, and allow operators to customize both the exterior skin and the touchscreen software with their own branded look and feel. Arguably one of the best features of SmartHub is that it offers the greatest number of payment options, including both mobile technology and biometric (thumbprint) technology. It accepts credit and debit cards, a branded market card, and can be integrated with payroll deduction systems. Unlike any of its competitors, SmartHub also can be configured to accept and dispense cash and coins.
“Our touchscreen allows users to scan their items’ barcodes or press the corresponding button on the screen itself, Hessling said. “Voice commands and visual cues make the checkout process the absolute easiest in the industry.”
365 is enjoying unprecedented success in its category, in part, because of its commitment to incorporating the newest and most innovative technology into its SmartShops solution. The company has developed proprietary software technology, rather than using off-the-shelf point of sale (POS) software like their competitors, thus allowing 365 to continuously improve it and adapt it to a customer’s functional needs, whether it’s back-end reporting or upfront POS design.
365’s SmartSecurity solutions are among the most advanced in the industry, offering web-based 24-hour surveillance that enables operators to access live feeds at any time of the day or night, or view recorded footage as necessary. The proprietary SmartHQ system provides operators with direct access to SmartSecurity footage, plus an array of backend benefits, including sales reports, inventory reports, and a host of customizable reporting options that help operators work smarter. 365 also offers a smartphone or tablet-enabled app allowing operators to access backend solutions on the go.
As experts in planning, design and implementation, the company’s team follows a proven six-step process to create a customizable and easily adoptable 365SmartShop for each customer. Those steps include a site survey, revenue modeling, 365SmartShop market design, planogram development, marketing program creation and Go-Live support. 365SmartShops have the ability to offer customers hundreds of preferred snacks and premium beverages options, including a wide-variety of healthy and energizing choices, such as deli-fresh sandwiches and salads. With 365, consumers will experience fast payment transactions, in some cases requiring less than five seconds, which addresses Gen Y’s preference for instant gratification and high-tech payments.
365SmartShops offer a unique comprehensive customer service support, from onsite training of personnel to 24/7 offsite, monitored support. SmartHub features on-screen Live Help to promptly assist users in need of assistance at the point of sale. For instance, if the SmartHub kiosk cannot read a credit card because the magnetic strip is worn away, users can push the Live Help tab on the touchscreen to instantly speak to a live representative and resolve the issue.
“Once we made the decision to go with 365 Retail Markets, our MicroMarket was up and running in record time,” said Patrick Meleton, COO of Automatic Chef, a Canteen franchise. “I can’t think of any other installation in our business that went so smoothly and hassle-free, the support was outstanding. Plus, our customers love the new experience we can offer them through the 365SmartShop.”
Strong Showing at OneShow
“We wanted to make a statement this year’s OneShow,” Hessling said, explaining its 365SmartShop solution can be found in three other exhibitors’ booths in addition to his own. Those exhibitors include Coca-Cola, Kraft/Tassimo and True Manufacturing.
“We’re thrilled that such partners as Coca-Cola and Kraft want to showcase our 365SmartShops right in their own booths. By showing their support, they express their confidence in 365’s solutions specifically and MicroMarkets in general,” said Hessling. “We think it sends a very positive message throughout the industry.”
Not only is 365 gaining recognition at the OneShow by major industry players, but it will also receive a NAMA Innovation Award for the second consecutive year, this year taking the Gold award in the Kiosk category for its SmartHub Gen II technology. Last year, the company earned a NAMA Innovation Award in the Equipment/Machinery-Technology category for the 365SmartShop.
In addition to the Innovation Awards, NAMA executives have asked the company to participate in three education sessions:
- Matt Caston, 365’s COO, will participate in the panel entitled “Understanding Tech’s Impact On Your Business,” Wednesday, April 25, from 8:30am to 10:30am, moderated by Dr. Michael Kasavana, NCE5, NAMA-Endowed Professor, Michigan State University. In addition to a variety of vending technologies, MicroMarkets will be featured as one of the industry’s innovative and creative applications.
- Joe Hessling, CEO, will participate in the panel discussion: “Customers Love Self-Checkout – How To Capitalize On This New Trend,” Thursday, April 26, from 1:00 to 2:00pm, moderated by Terry Touchton, VP of Sales & Marketing, Vistar. Hessling will be joined by representatives from other MicroMarket players.
- Matt Caston will participate in the panel: “Consumer Engagement Through Social Media,” Wednesday April 25, from 11:00am to 12:30pm, facilitated by Dan Avenick, Director, Vending Strategy, Coca-Cola.
And finally, to commemorate the launch of the company’s SmartHub Gen II, 365 will be giving away a customized MicroMarket capable of generating $100,000 in revenue to one lucky contest winner. The promotion is designed to generate awareness of the MicroMarket industry and incent late adopters to get on board. Sponsored by 365, General Mills, Kraft Foods, AdvancePierre and MEI, the contest will run through the first week of May. Companies can enter at www.winamarket.com
“We couldn’t be more excited about the future of 365 and the MicroMarket industry. In just five short years since the company launched, we have experienced tremendous growth and overwhelming feedback from very satisfied customers,” concluded Hessling.
About 365 Retail Markets
365 Retail Markets is a Troy, Michigan-based retail technology company focused entirely on the vending and foodservice industry. The 365 SmartHub is the only solution capable of supporting biometric and contact-less payment, in addition to cash, credit and debit. It is also capable of reading digital and QR codes for mobile couponing that can used by any smarthphone device.
Founded in 2007, 365 provides a comprehensive self-checkout MicroMarket technology platform to vending and foodservice companies across North America