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Posts from the ‘Supermarkets’ Category

Retail and Foodservice 2025: The Future for Customers, Operators and Facilities

Ed_McKiernan Ed McKiernan | President, Emerson Retail Solutions

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Food retail and food service environments are quickly evolving. As retail stores and restaurants adapt to changing infrastructure and facility requirements, it is important that operators understand where the market is heading and the impact these changes will have on their operations.

To help operators prepare for the future, Emerson commissioned global research firm Euromonitor International to identify trends that will shape the grocery retail and chained foodservice markets through 2025, and determine what impact these developments will have on retail store and restaurant design and infrastructure.

Euromonitor International is the world’s leading independent provider of strategic market research. With more than 40 years experience, the firm has offices around the world, analysts in over 100 countries and market research on every key trend and driver.

The research firm identified five megatrends that will have the strongest impact on retail and restaurant operations and facilities management over the next eight years:

  1. Digital Shoppers
  2. Focus on Convenience
  3. New Retail Formats
  4. Experiential Retail
  5. Omni-Channel Proficiency

These trends were shared at the Emerson E360 Annual Conference and on a global webcast. Over the next few posts, we will also take a closer look at each one of these trends, beginning with the first one.

Trend: Digital Shoppers

Consumers are becoming more connected, and expecting a connected experience when they interact with brands or purchase products. Currently, 3 in 4 U.S. households own a smartphone, and 47 percent of digital purchases in the United States are made through mobile devices. As the wireless infrastructure strengthens, the Internet becomes omnipresent and the prices of devices come down, these numbers will continue to grow.

We are already seeing a shift with many retailers moving toward mobile engagement with consumers within the store to create a better shopping experience and a stronger customer relationship. Also, more retailers in the U.S. are offering mobile order and pay capabilities to simplify transactions. Some retailers are even going beyond mobile and offering conversational commerce, where for instance, a virtual personal assistant such as Amazon’s Alexa can deliver your item within a short period of time.

So, what should retail and foodservice organizations do in terms of facility management and operations to stay ahead of this trend and customer expectations?

  • Facilities – Overhaul store layout (parking, checkout, dining area, etc.) to drive traffic and attract new trip types and consumers.
  • Supply Chain – Align online and physical inventory and offer real-time tracking of sources and orders to encourage repeat consideration and engage and inform customers.
  • e-Commerce – Implement digital order and payment platforms and offer a personalized, seamless experience to lower costs, reduce errors and increase customer satisfaction.
  • Human Resources – Make sure you have the training that focuses on the right skillsets and staff appropriately based on the different service models to improve customer experience and create stronger brand loyalty.
  • Customer Experience – Train customers for new protocols and offer a streamlined experience to minimize disruptions and serve more customers, faster.

Be sure to join us for our next post, which will take a look at the second megatrend: Focus on Convenience.

Advances in Supermarket HVAC Equipment

I was recently featured in an article on supermarket HVAC for the June issue of Progressive Grocer. Below are some key takeaways.

 According to Energy Star, food retailers spend more than $4 per square foot annually on energy, with a large portion for HVACR systems. This Progressive Grocer article addresses how supermarket HVAC equipment is becoming more sophisticated and efficient, with the ultimate goal of reducing those figures.


We’ve seen that recent advances in grocery refrigeration have also led to advances in supermarket HVAC systems. For example, doors on refrigerated cases and air management systems are solutions that improve the shopper’s experience and comfort level, as well as help the HVAC system operate at the ideal temperature.

Another item that affects supermarket HVAC is dehumidification. Removing moisture from the air allows retail HVAC and refrigeration systems to work better, while also improving shopper comfort. For example, grocers in humid climates often deal with refrigeration systems that perspire, which can lead to the pooling of water on floors and cause safety risks for customers who may slip or fall. Reducing humidity can alleviate that problem.

And, a third advancement is the integration of all retail facility systems. Unlike a commercial building where HVAC systems are separate and distinct from lighting, the HVAC, refrigeration and lighting systems in a grocery store can be integrated through a facility management system for improved control and visibility across all equipment. If a retailer is only monitoring the temperatures in food cases, they are missing out on the potential efficiency and gains from also monitoring their HVAC systems.

To read more about how supermarket HVAC equipment is becoming more sophisticated and efficient, read the full article on pages 188-189 of the June 2016 issue of Progressive Grocer.

 For more than 20 years, Emerson Retail Solutions has been helping businesses like yours safeguard food, reduce energy consumption, protect the environment and optimize business results. To learn more about our technology solutions and services for retailers, visit our website.

Paul Hepperla
Director, New Solutions Development & Enterprise Product Management
Emerson Climate Technologies


Equipment Investments for Increased Customer Engagement

I was recently featured in an article for the Grocery Headquarters 2016 Equipment, Design and Operations Handbook. Below are some highlights around in-store equipment investments.

Grocery Headquarters EDO Handbook 2016_cover

We know that the demands of today’s consumers are increasing while their time is decreasing. Food retailers are addressing this trend by focusing their efforts on fresh, specialty and convenient offerings – which has prompted a need to think about the impact on store-level equipment.

In this Grocery Headquarters article, the editor discusses the criticality of the “fourth wall of retailing” – a term coined by the theater industry about the separation between the audience and stage. Grocers are aiming to break down the wall with consumers by focusing on their senses. They want to create “a more interactive, community-centric shopping experience.”

More supermarket consumer engagement is happening in perimeter departments, especially where fresh foods are on display. Safe, efficient equipment is needed and downtime is not an option.

We’ve seen that when retailers use a “cost-focused” mindset to procure equipment at lower prices, it may not last. Grocers should use a lifecycle approach in reviewing equipment to retain its value and achieve better operating levels. With attention on maintenance and upkeep, equipment performance will be extended and staff training costs can be reduced.

To read more about how grocers are investing in equipment and lighting to better engage with shoppers, read the full article here (subscription required).

 For more than 20 years, Emerson Retail Solutions has been helping businesses like yours safeguard food, reduce energy consumption, protect the environment and optimize business results. To learn more about our technology solutions and services for retailers, visit our website.

Paul Hepperla
Director, New Solutions Development & Enterprise Product Management
Emerson Climate Technologies


Make the Upgrade to Digital

The use of a digital compressor as the lead compressor in a fixed capacity refrigeration rack is becoming a preferred method for supermarkets seeking to meet varying refrigeration loads. With the ability to modulate capacity from 10 to 100 percent, digital compressors are now being written into the design specifications of many big-box retailers.


Digital Upgrade Kit for Traditional Rack Systems

This option is also available as an upgrade to existing refrigeration systems that are based on traditional parallel rack architectures. Many technicians are being called upon to retrofit these systems with a digital compressor upgrade kit. Although there are some newer technologies and electronic controls involved with the transition, the upgrade process is relatively straightforward:

  • Identify the compressor
  • Verify the system controller
  • Choose the correct upgrade model
  • Select the digital controller
  • Install upgrade kit

Digital Technology Yields Indisputable Results

A single digital compressor with 10 to 100 percent capacity modulation enables continuous variable unloading that delivers immediate and significant benefits. While results vary per application, operators can expect improvements in three major categories:

  • Reduced compressor cycling — the average compressor cycling is reduced up to 50 percent, but some scenarios have seen cycle counts go from 900 starts per day to 12 starts across a four-day span
  • Improved temperature control — digital modulation is capable of temperature control within +/- 1 °F
  • Tighter suction pressure control — operating suction pressure ranges are significantly reduced, moving from double-digit suction pressures (psig) to single-digit levels

These results make an open and shut case for a digital compressor upgrade. As awareness of this option becomes more well-known, many supermarket operators will opt for capacity modulation using this relatively simple upgrade to their existing rack systems.

Other Methods of Capacity Modulation

The challenge of modulating capacity in centralized rack refrigeration systems is not a new one, and system designers have made several attempts to solve the problem. Though none are as effective as digital capacity modulation, technicians still frequently encounter uneven rack and variable speed drives.

One digital compressor per suction group can provide precise capacity modulation from 10 to 100 percent. The results are up to 50 percent reduction in compressor cycling, improved equipment reliability and precise temperature control.

This blog is a summary of the article Make the Upgrade to Digital from our recent edition of E360 Outlook. Click here to learn more about the benefits of upgrading to digital compressors.

Changing Regulations to Impact Retail Businesses

In the January issue of Chain Store Age, we discussed government regulations that will affect supermarket and convenience store retailers in 2016. Below are the highlights:


In 2016, retail chains will continue to face increasing competition and high consumer expectations. Changing regulations will also impact retail businesses. We see three regulatory issues as the most critical for the retail industry this year and beyond:

  1. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
    For retailers offering fresh foods, FSMA will have an impact on food integrity and safety, and may help with reducing food waste. As retailers focus more on “farm to table” freshness, the result will be an increased importance on collecting and utilizing data related to the safety and integrity of foods.
  2. Refrigerant and energy efficiency standards
    The EPA and DOE are working diligently with industry leaders to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, move to climate-friendly refrigerants and employ advanced refrigeration technologies. Most of these technologies are not “drop-in” substitutes for retrofitting. Retailers and their suppliers will need to plan and collaborate to fulfill all guidelines.
  3. Changing workforce regulations
    Retailers will continue to deal with employment and workforce regulation changes. Increasing labor costs will lead retailers to look to additional technology and automation for solutions.

You can read the full Chain Store Age article on page 26 of the January print issue.

 What regulations will impact you most in 2016? Please share your insights in the comments below.

Mark Dunson
President, Retail Solutions
Emerson Climate Technologies

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