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Posts from the ‘Convenience Store’ Category

[New E360 Webinar] Why Retrofit Your Aging Supermarket Refrigeration Architecture?

AndrePatenaude_Blog_Image Andre Patenaude | Director, Food Retail Marketing & Growth Strategy, Cold Chain

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Many supermarket operators face a common dilemma regarding their refrigeration systems: they know they need to make changes or upgrade their legacy systems, but they’re not sure what their retrofit options are — or even where to begin. In our next E360 Webinar, I’ll offer guidance on how supermarket owners/operators can embark on this critical journey.

Join me on Tuesday, Aug. 13 at 2 p.m. EDT/11 a.m. PDT for this informative webinar.

[New E360 Webinar] Why Retrofit Your Aging Supermarket Refrigeration Architecture?

There’s no question that reliable refrigeration is the backbone of any supermarket operation; it accounts for more than 50 percent of the electrical consumption for an average supermarket. That’s why keeping your refrigeration system running at optimal efficiency is essential to maximizing profits and ensuring operational success.

But if you’re like many owners/operators, you’ve been relying on the same centralized refrigeration architecture for decades. During that time, these systems have typically experienced declining performance levels and energy efficiencies — all due to progressive deviations from their original commissioned states. And while these systems are perfect candidates for an upgrade or a retrofit, even newer systems can offer opportunities for improvements, especially within the context of today’s rapidly evolving industry and market dynamics.

Compared to just 10 years ago, the drivers behind refrigeration decisions have changed dramatically, and the days of a one-system-fits-all mentality are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Environmental concerns, energy costs, shifting regulations, shrinking store formats, consumer demands and omnichannel delivery have all irrevocably reshaped the supermarket landscape.

As a result, more supermarket owners/operators are reevaluating their existing (and often aging) systems while looking for any retrofit opportunities that are available to them. Our next E360 Webinar is designed with them in mind. To help you better understand the many factors to consider when evaluating a supermarket refrigeration retrofit, I’ll be discussing the following topics:

  • Industry and market trends driving the need for refrigeration system retrofits
  • How to identify deficiencies and baseline performances in centralized architectures
  • A look at the potential architectures of the future
  • Recommended technologies for retrofits and recommissioning
  • Energy-efficiency strategies for refrigeration, HVAC and the complete building envelope

As always, we will take time after the presentation to answer any of your questions. So, be sure to register now and add this event to your August calendar.

Refrigeration Strategies for Enabling Flexible Merchandising

AndrePatenaude_Blog_Image Andre Patenaude | Director, Food Retail Marketing & Growth Strategy, Cold Chain

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

The practice of rotating inventory in customer-facing product displays is often referred to as “flexible merchandising”. In a recent E360 article, I explained how refrigeration equipment is becoming more mobile to help food retailers implement this strategy. Read the full article here.

In today’s competitive food retail markets, flexible merchandising strategies provide opportunities to give customers the sense that there’s always something new to discover. Whether to highlight seasonal offerings, promote flash sales or maintain a vibrant store appearance, it’s a proven method of keeping customers engaged and coming back. To implement this strategy, grocers need flexibility in their display cases with the ability to move and rotate offerings as needed. The challenge comes when these products need to be refrigerated, because many traditional refrigeration systems don’t support that desired flexibility.

Refrigeration fixtures will need at least some degree of mobility to be viable in a flexible merchandising strategy. But in many cases, refrigeration architectures are often inherently incompatible with a flexible approach. Many have fixed-case layouts where fixtures and piping are literally affixed into the store’s floorplan with pre-determined insets. Traditional centralized direct expansion (DX) refrigeration systems also don’t lend themselves to refrigerated display case flexibility.

What are your refrigeration options for flexible merchandising?

With changing retailer preferences and market trends in mind, there are several viable refrigeration architectures available today. Let’s look at a few.

Distributed — this strategy is based on installing outdoor condensing units (“OCUs”) that allow them to be strategically located outside of a facility to support the addition of spot merchandising cases. Often utilized by smaller-format stores, this approach makes it easier for operators to scale their refrigeration system to the needs of the store. Modern OCUs are quiet, energy-efficient and offer installation flexibility while leaving small physical footprints outside the store. Keep in mind that OCUs are typically installed to support refrigerated fixtures in different zones, so their flexibility is limited to a particular zone.

Micro-distributed — featuring display cases that have the compressors integrated within the case, this emerging system type is becoming more common, especially in smaller-format stores. To remove the exhaust heat, cases are connected to a shared water-cooled loop that’s directed to the roof of the facility. These systems utilize a variety of low-GWP refrigerants at low charges, including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs) and hydrocarbons such as R-290. The integrated case with water loop design enables a greater degree of merchandising flexibility, but does not quite achieve true mobility.

Self-contained — for maximum merchandising flexibility, these display cases incorporate the entire refrigeration system within the case — essentially serving as plug-and-play refrigerated units on wheels. These smaller refrigeration systems typically do not require large refrigerant charges, and are designed to use a variety of low-GWP HFC, HFO and R-290 refrigerant options. For a large-format store with a centralized DX system, incorporating self-contained display cases is a logical means of achieving refrigerated case flexibility.

As refrigeration technologies evolve to address changing industry dynamics, look for emerging system architectures that will help retailers meet the needs for flexible merchandising and smaller store footprints.

Using Site Supervisor to Boost Business

Reggie O'Donoghue_Blog Reggie O’Donoghue | Director of Electronics, Product Management
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Convenience store managers are tasked with juggling several different responsibilities at once, sometimes feeling like focusing on one aspect of the business leads another to falter. Keeping customers happy calls for offering new, fresh food options, a comfortable and welcoming shopping environment and more. Managing sustainable performance of HVAC, lighting and refrigeration systems requires operators to determine ways they can incorporate new technology and systems without forking over an arm and a leg in installation costs.

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Emerson’s Site Supervisor is here to assist with the balancing act. Site Supervisor is a facility control platform that can help retailers improve operational efficiencies and maximize food quality through innovative and constant monitoring that can be accessed at the palm of a retailer’s hand. Using equipment controls and sensors, operators can monitor key metrics within the building, and utilize IoT technologies to connect buildings to cloud-based services, providing remote access to equipment from off-site.

With consumer expectations becoming more and more diversified, as well as the demand for fresh, ready-to-eat food options, maintaining temperature compliance from refrigeration systems is a top priority. Up until now, this meant that store staff were required to continuously monitor and report on equipment conditions and operation. Now, with Site Supervisor, these tedious tasks can be automated and, more importantly, made reliable. With Site Supervisor feeding valuable data to store managers, these managers can focus more on assisting customers and building relationships.

Managers can also set up priority alerts that provide nearly instant visibility of unsatisfactory operating conditions; and can make timely corrective actions that provide detailed information about the incident. Managers and servicers can view this information on a convenient and easy-to-navigate drill down screen on their mobile device, tablet or laptop. That means issues can be resolved quickly, remotely and efficiently. Managers can then take the data provided by Site Supervisor to develop a more proactive prevention process, adjusting operations to prevent future incidents. Retailers can also pair Site Supervisor with Emerson’s ProAct services to gain even more operational insight.

All of this data can be hosted through Emerson’s cloud-based services or through local, on-site hosting. With the ability to control, monitor and optimize operations at your fingertips from a platform that is easy to install and navigate, managers can better balance their daily operations and optimize their store functions. Continuous alarm diagnosis and issue resolution can help turn a stressful situation into a learning opportunity, with the issue being resolved quickly and a bank of data provided to help prevent it in the future.

For more information on Site Supervisor, view this short video.

C-Store Trends Through 2025

Dean Landeche_Blog Dean Landeche | Vice President of Marketing , Cold Chain
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

I sat down with the editors of Convenience Store Decisions to discuss trends that will be shaping the future of U.S. convenience stores. Zandi Brehmer, head of client innovation at global research firm Euromonitor International, joined the conversation. Emerson commissioned Euromonitor to identify trends through 2025.

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Focus on the customer

Retailers in this space are obviously concerned with convenience, but we are seeing an increased interest in cultivating customer relationships. Shifting the focus on the consumers from the checkout to when they enter a store may generate a big payoff. Modern technological systems such as wireless sensors in c-stores can potentially free up staff to focus on higher-value customer interactions. As these solutions become more prevalent, convenience stores can become more nimble to address the changing needs of their customer base.

Experiential retail

Driven by a digital revolution and rapidly changing consumer expectations, convenience operators are turning to new strategies to stay competitive. As product offerings are becoming more interchangeable, the shopping experience is a differentiator for retailers. Recent studies show that 78% of millennials would rather spend money on a desirable experience than on goods.

Supply chain management

Finally, better inventory management will likely distinguish convenience store operations in the future. Not only does new technology enable retailers to track inventory, but to learn who’s buying what.

For more information on these and other trends, read the full article here. You can see the Euromonitor presentation on Retail and Foodservice Trends 2025 here.

Dean Landeche, Vice President of Marketing and Retail Solutions

 

 

 

 

 

Convenience Store Decisions: Gaining Operational Efficiency from BMS Insight

ronchapek_2 Ron Chapek | Director of Product Management, ProAct Enterprise Software Services

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

As convenience stores continue to evolve to adapt to changing customer demands and infrastructure and facility requirements, operators are under increasing pressure to gain operational efficiencies. Of growing importance in this effort are the intelligent applications that allow operators to effectively use the data gathered by building management systems (BMS) and environmental monitoring systems (EMS).

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The challenge of building intelligent applications is to effectively convert rapidly expanding and disparate data sources into visually insightful, prescriptive, actionable and value-adding graphical interfaces across multiple stakeholder departments with a diverse range of usage and persona types. Historically, the static application data was gathered or delivered late, making it hard to determine the action to take. Now with intelligent applications, you have the ability to make decisions and take actions faster on more current data.

Before you can take advantage of these new intelligent applications there are four building blocks to consider putting in place:

  1. Modern Data Architecture that delivers access to a wide variety of data at high velocity and scale.
  2. Advanced Analytics, the science of using a wide variety of data to understand factors that impact customer experience.
  3. Smart Devices all gathering data and sending it through the architecture.
  4. Real-Time Business making decisions in real-time.

Before you take the first step in your intelligent application, think about the business value. Then you will be in a position to effectively use the data to increase operational efficiencies.

For more information, read the full article in Convenience Store Decisions online here.

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