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Posts tagged ‘Retail’

Smaller Supermarket Formats Dictate Fresh Refrigeration Approaches

JohnWallace_Blog_Image John Wallace | Director of Innovation, Retail Solutions

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Meeting the demands of emergent small-format supermarkets requires a new approach to — or adaption of existing — refrigeration architectures. This blog is based on a recent article that discusses available options. Read the full article here.

One of the biggest trends shaping the food retail industry is the shrinking store footprint. Instead of building large mega centers that once dominated the landscape, today’s retailers are opting to extend their brands into smaller stores, typically in densely populated areas. The small-format trend is part of a larger evolution — one that emphasizes high-quality, fresh, perishable offerings while appealing to consumer desire for more convenience.

Food retailers that are embracing these changes must also evaluate how their approaches to refrigeration architectures and controls will also need to adapt. Fortunately, there is no shortage of available options to help operators make this transition.

Scale down for “centralized” familiarity
A traditional big-box supermarket has more than 100 cases (a mix of medium- and low-temperature cases) supported by centralized refrigeration racks and controls designed to optimize large systems of this type. If you shrink these systems down for smaller formats with less merchandise, it stands to reason that you may not need as many racks. With stores shrinking from more than 100,000 to less than 20,000 square feet, they simply won’t need the same refrigeration horsepower.

In many cases, operators may still want to use centralized architectures for both medium- and low-temperature cases, but appropriately scaled down to suit the small format. Often, we’re able to design a system with one rack to manage medium- and low-temperature needs. Since it’s a much smaller centralized system to support fewer case lineups, it has much shorter refrigeration lines running out to the cases.

From a system controls standpoint, this smaller centralized architecture isn’t drastically different, so retailers can achieve relatively the same look and feel in both large and small store formats — while also providing the flexibility to scale across the full spectrum of store sizes.

Explore “distributed” efficiencies

While distributed refrigeration systems have been preferred in large supermarkets in Europe and other global regions, they are also well-suited for the small-format emergence in the U.S. Distributed architectures come in different formats and offer a cost-effective refrigeration strategy for smaller stores. Preferred distributed architectures include:

  • “Self-contained” cases (i.e., a completely integrated refrigeration system within the case); also provide spot-merchandizing flexibility
  • Modular refrigeration systems capable of supporting small lines of cases sharing similar characteristics

Distributed architectures also have a greater impact on the way controls are set up and utilized. In a distributed scenario, electronic controllers are installed at the refrigeration cases. Additional sensors are typically required to capture data, allow for better control, and support remote troubleshooting activities.

Standardize your footprint

When adding smaller-format stores to an enterprise network, it may not be in your best interest to introduce a completely new refrigeration and controls platform. For retailers with multi-site networks of large- and small-format stores, it’s especially important to select refrigeration architectures and control platforms that provide a standardized view.

When evaluating refrigeration options, look for platforms that support the evolution of internet of things (IoT) in refrigeration and facility management. These systems represent the next generation of operational efficiencies by offering cloud connectivity, predictive maintenance and advanced multi-site management software.

 

Trends Impacting the Supermarket Refrigeration Landscape

JasonBorn_Blog_Image Jason Born | Innovation Lead, The Helix
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

During our E360 Forum last year in Houston, I led a Q&A panel discussion on the trends and market forces impacting the refrigeration landscape in food retail. Sharing their thoughts and insights were industry experts Derek Gosselin, director, technical product support, Hillphoenix; and Brad Thrasher, south central regional sales manager, Zero Zone. Below are some of their views on key trends; view the full E360 Forum presentation.

The Changing Face of Food Retail

Thirsty from wandering the aisles of your local grocery megamart? How about a craft beer break? Or maybe shopping for food just makes you hungry. Grocery shoppers today can virtually eat their way around the world as in-store food bazaars offer freshly prepared ethnic fare: Mexican “street food”, noodle bowls and wood-fired pizza. No time to shop? There’s always curbside pick-up of weekly grocery staples on your way home from work — just click and collect. And today, going small has never been bigger, with millennials and Generation Z flocking to urban areas and higher-density living. It’s no surprise that smaller-footprint grocery and food specialty stores are popping up in mixed-use buildings that were never intended to support things like complex refrigeration or HVAC systems.

Yes, the face of food retail is changing. And with this change comes a host of new opportunities (and challenges) for commercial refrigeration. I’ve summarized some of the key takeaways from this informative question and answer session.

On e-commerce, omnichannel and digital shopping

The first topic of discussion was the impact of the digital shopping trend. Today, more consumers are shopping for groceries online. I asked the panelists how brick-and-mortar retailers were responding.

Thrasher: I’ve seen some reports (FMI-Nielsen) that say that online grocery sales could grab up to 20 percent of the market. That seems pretty aggressive to me. But it’s definitely a rising trend. Traditional food retailers are responding by adding services like curbside pick-up. They are making home deliveries. You have to adapt to whatever direction the market is going.

Gosselin: For the retailers, it’s about what identifies them as different. Amazon is driving sales directly online. What can you offer to differentiate yourself, not only from online shopping, but the competition in your marketplace? Many stores have found success creating destination centers within their produce and other perimeter departments: food preparations, beer and wine tastings, restaurants, meals-to-go programs. That’s where the trends are going to be. And, of particular interest to everyone here: How do make sure you have appropriate refrigeration at these dynamic destination centers so that they can control your food quality and get it efficiently distributed?

On Click & Collect

Building on the idea of curbside service, I asked our panelists about the grocery pick-up lockers that are popping up everywhere and what that might mean for the future.

Gosselin: If you’re going to offer perishables as part of your curbside pick-up, you’re going to need to incorporate refrigeration. And it’s not just with in-store Click & Collect programs. I’ve also seen trends where retailers will place a portable refrigerated unit on your porch, so when they deliver fresh food or frozen items, they have a convenient and appropriately refrigerated location. Most consumers are probably not going to give you the key to their home.

Thrasher: Many stores are looking at self-contained or hybrid systems. Future refrigeration will need to be more flexible so that retailers can expand quickly and easily. If your curbside (pick-up) starts minimally but grows quickly, you’ll want a flexible, easy-to-implement solution so you can move quickly to serve customer demand.

Curbside pick-up is a relatively recent phenomenon. To add it as service, you have to dedicate and adapt more space in your store. But that doesn’t come without cost and questions. As we all know, for everything new you add in-store, something else will probably need to come out.

On the future

Before jumping into an audience Q&A, I asked the panelists how their retailers are dealing with change and some of the main factors driving their refrigeration decisions.

Thrasher: No one knows with certainty where the future will go. Some decisions will continue to be informed by technology and regulatory changes. And, certainly, costs always play a critical role. With refrigerants, for example, as regulations come, they may eliminate possibilities. It’s hard to go “all in” into a refrigerant when it could eventually be obsoleted, driving costs up for replacements. The same concept applies to system architectures.

Gosselin: How do you get in front of change? Do you go micro-distributed? Do you use natural refrigerants? What technologies will be developed in answer to changing rules?

For the end user, the challenge is not only what do they have to do to maintain their current fleet of stores, but what are they going to do for future stores so that they don’t add to the problems? And then how do they do that under a cost-effective and compliant refrigerant management program?

Thrasher: The bottom line is that there’s simply no one solution for everyone. Every retailer has a different set of objectives and challenges, influenced by regulations, technology and costs, but ultimately driven by the evolving needs of the markets they serve.

To take a deeper dive into our discussion, be sure to watch the full E360 Forum session.

 

Five Megatrends That Will Impact Retail and Foodservice

Dean Landeche_Blog Dean Landeche | V.P. of Marketing , Retail Solutions

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

View our most recent E360 Webinar, “Retail and Foodservice 2025: The Future for Customers, Operators and Facilities.

Grocery retail and foodservice sectors are currently undergoing a significant transition in the way they conduct business. Driven by a digital revolution, rapidly changing consumer expectations and the demand for convenience at every touchpoint, operators are devising new strategies to stay competitive and keep customers engaged. While some of these changes are already in progress, others are just beginning to take shape.

To get a clearer view of the outlook for these dynamic markets, Emerson recently invited Zandi Brehmer, consulting practice manager of innovation for Euromonitor Consulting, to present insights from her research at our 22nd E360 Webinar. Brehmer’s presentation was rife with relevant information, particularly about how these developments will impact future retail store and restaurant design and infrastructure.

With that in mind, what follows are Brehmer’s top five megatrends in these markets.

  1. Digital shoppers. Today, three out of four households in the U.S. own a smartphone, accounting for 47 percent of purchases and a forecast for $1 trillion in sales by 2018. Retailers need to engage consumers through their mobile devices with options to order/pay, and potentially even mobile apps where opportunities exist to provide real value to customers.
  2. Focus on convenience. The urbanization of the U.S. population continues, with 83 percent of Americans living in urban centers, and 65 percent of global consumers are looking to simplify their lives. New business models — such as just-in-time delivery, click and collect, and basic replenishment — are emerging to provide convenience improvements and help consumers save time.
  3. New retail formats. The size of traditional U.S. grocery stores has continued to shrink over the past 10 years. With shoppers faced with ever-increasing options, new formats are challenged to be more thoughtful. At opposite ends of the spectrum are value- and premium-based outlets, while the mid-market retailers are taking a hit. Specialty small-format convenience stores will continue to emerge as “grocerants” blur the lines between retail and foodservice.
  4. Experiential retail. As product offerings become all too similar, it’s the shopping experiences that will differentiate one retailer from the next. In fact, 78 percent of U.S. millennials would rather spend money on a desirable experience than on goods, while 39 percent of global shoppers like to browse, even if they don’t need anything.
  5. Omnichannel proficiency. Retailers will need to provide a seamless way to facilitate sales anytime and anywhere for their consumers, including the methods discussed herein. Even online retailers are opening physical storefronts to round out omnichannel opportunities.

The conclusion: business as usual is no longer an option. Operators will likely need to overhaul their store layouts to meet the expectations of every type of customer via better segmentation of functional areas such as parking, checkout, order pick-up, dining area and kitchens.

To learn more, view this webinar in its entirety.

Technology in Action: Advanced Condition Based Maintenance

This is the third in a series of posts on key presentations from Emerson’s 2013 Technology in Action Conference.

What is condition based maintenance? In a 2013 Technology in Action Conference (TAC) session, Jim Mitchell, Retail Solutions product manager, discusses this Emerson service, which is similar to predictive maintenance and consists of performing maintenance based on the condition of equipment.

Service Engine Soon_TAC Post 3

One of our earlier posts discusses the basics of condition based maintenance, including the questions it can answer for your retail business. Jim gave TAC attendees an overview of this service, in which he often describes as similar to the diagnostics systems in cars today, which alert us when it is time for an oil change or to replace an air filter.

Emerson conducted field testing on its condition based maintenance service and Jim shared some of the results with TAC attendees. We found that with our slow leak algorithm, we were able to detect about 50 percent of preventable leaks.

To learn more about condition based maintenance, see Jim in this video about his session and view his full presentation on the TAC website.

What are your biggest maintenance concerns?

Reggie O’Donoghue
Director of Marketing, Retail Solutions
Emerson Climate Technologies

Don’t Let Your Retail Business Get a Flat Tire

Does your car tell you when it’s time for an oil change or if tire pressure is low? Armed with this information, you don’t wait for a major auto “failure” before you act—you use condition based maintenance.

It’s the same for your retail business. Wouldn’t you rather do maintenance based on equipment condition before it deteriorates to the point where it may fail if not serviced?

Condition Based Maintenance can answer questions like
•    Which of my refrigeration systems are operating improperly or inefficiently?
•    Which of my refrigeration systems are leaking refrigerant?
•    How can I implement a better preventative maintenance scheme or optimize maintenance dispatches?
•    Where should I focus my maintenance budget?

The best news about Condition Based Maintenance is that many retailers already have most of the equipment needed installed already. Products like Emerson E2 controllers, Copeland Scroll™ compressors with CoreSense Diagnostics™, temperature and pressure sensors are increasingly being installed as standard equipment in many retail operations today.

Connecting our Condition Based Maintenance software and service architecture is the final step many retailers need to take to ensure they are safely driving their business.

For more information about Condition Based Maintenance, view my presentation from Emerson’s Technology in Action Conference.

Jim Mitchell
Product Manager, Retail Solutions
Emerson Climate Technologies

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