A micro mart — also often referred to as a micro market or nano mart — differs from your typical convenience store in a number of key ways.
Micro marts offer a limited SKU mix compared to traditional convenience stores — think 200 items or less — in a small footprint. Some micro marts measure around 300 or 700 square feet. They’re usually cashier-less locations that allow for autonomous check-in/checkout using a credit card, ID number or mobile app.
But they’re different from vending machines or banks of vending machines as well in that they feature open-air shelving to accommodate a range of prepared foods packaging. That’s because one defining aspect of a micro mart’s SKU mix is a focus on prepared food and grocery items, much like you’d find in a quick-service restaurant.
A prepared foods SKU mix is easier to operate without a human employee present compared to traditional c-store fare. With prepared foods, there are fewer “exceptions,” such as needing age verification, ticket switching or partial scans, or scan and switch, or skip and slip the line.
Micro marts are found in office buildings, fitness centers and as small, stand-alone, self-service stores, but they can also be found in the form of small unattended “refrigerators” at the gas pump that customers can open with an app or credit card to select fresh food products and beverages.
Today, more convenience store retailers are considering adding micro marts to their store portfolio in specific areas.