These Nine Trends Will Impact Your Success In 2019. How Will You Exploit Them?

by Paul Schlossberg
Posted On: 12/10/2018

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  Paul Schlossberg
It's that time of year again. Across every media outlet and social media resource, there are predictions from prognosticators1 and all sorts of experts. They sound off about what we can expect in the coming year. The subjects covered range from international issues to local matters. You'll see commentary about the economy, the weather, what we eat, where we should travel, who will be the big newsmakers and almost anything else you can imagine.

What does the future hold for our industry in 2019? Here are a few predictions for your consideration:  

1.  Cashless, including mobile payments, will gain a bigger share of our transactions and sales dollars. This will probably happen at most of the venues you are serving.

2.  Shopper demand for BFY (better for you) products will increase in every product category we sell. As Generation Z joins the workforce, they will demand more variety in the menu we offer.

3.  Micromarkets will continue to show positive growth in number of deployments and same-store-sales2.  The big challenge for us will be keeping our stores relevant as Amazon Go and others expand the number of "just walk out" shopping locations.  

4.  You will be selling even more new SKUs across every product category. The pace of new product introductions is accelerating. Where will you source these products? How will you display and merchandise so many new products? Will it be necessary to "remove" some current SKUs so you can add these new items?  

5.  Competitive pressure will increase. "They" want our shoppers. The "enemy" includes fast food restaurant chains, convenience stores, chain drugstores, supermarkets, dollar stores and more. Don't forget about food trucks.

6.  Delivery is going to be our toughest new competitor. Whether it is from nearby restaurants or an order from Amazon, fresh food and packaged food, snacks and beverages are being delivered at the locations you serve. Our ultimate advantage, being the most convenient source, is being disrupted. How will you respond? Delivery is a big opportunity for our competition and a huge threat for our sales in the future.

7.  Maximizing the value and impact of your brand will be more crucial than ever. It is the most important brand you sell. Remember that you sell market-leading brands. The shoppers you serve are buying from you. Make it a top priority in 2019 to get your brand to stand out at every location.

8.  Understanding the data is the key to driving profitable growth. Everyone is fighting hard to keep their best locations. In this difficult competitive environment, losing a "big" profitable account must be prevented by positive actions. Use data and analyses to be aware of changes before there are problems.

9.  Robotics and robots are in the future for your business. Pay attention when new robotic equipment is introduced. See if there are opportunities for deployment at locations you serve. Be ready to request participation in beta-test placements.
The answers to these challenges are NOT in your office. Here is my advice for 2019. GET OUT OF YOUR OFFICE! Visit your locations to eat, snack or enjoy a beverage. Engage with some of your shoppers. Work with each of your "outside" team members. Do business reviews with key account management. We could go on – but it's likely that you're well aware what to do in the months ahead.

If you want to sell more stuff, get ready to deal with a these nine challenges and more in 2019.   


1  According to to prognosticate is "to forecast or predict (something future) from present indications or signs"  
2  Same-store-sales, according to Wikipedia, "…is a business term which refers to the difference in revenue generated by a {company's} existing outlets over a certain period (often a fiscal quarter or a particular shopping season), compared to an identical period in the past, usually in the previous year."

» Paul Schlossberg is president of D/FW Consulting, working with clients to merchandise and market products in impulse-intense selling environments, such as vending, onsite foodservice and convenience stores. Based in the Austin, TX, area, he can be reached at or (972) 877-2972 or